discriminate[di skrim′i nāt′; for adj., -nit]
- The definition of discriminate is to show partiality or prejudice based on a general category not on individual merit.
An example of discriminate is to refuse to rent an apartment to a black man because he is black.
- Discriminate is defined as to recognize or see the difference between two or more people or things.
An example of discriminate is a dress maker seeing the height difference between two bridesmaids and making adjustments accordingly.
transitive verbdiscriminated, discriminating
- to constitute a difference between; differentiate
- to recognize the difference between; distinguish
Origin of discriminate; from Classical Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare, to divide, distinguish ; from discrimen, division, distinction ; from discernere: see discern
- to see the difference (between things); distinguish
- to be discerning
- to make distinctions in treatment; show partiality (in favor of) or prejudice (against)
verbdis·crim·i·nat·ed, dis·crim·i·nat·ing, dis·crim·i·nates
- To make a clear distinction; distinguish: discriminate among the options available.
- To make distinctions on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit, especially to show prejudice on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or a similar social factor: was accused of discriminating against women; discriminated in favor of his cronies.
- To perceive or notice the distinguishing features of; recognize as distinct: unable to discriminate colors.
- To make or constitute a distinction in or between: methods that discriminate science from pseudoscience; characteristics that discriminate early stone artifacts from pieces of natural stone.
Origin of discriminateLatin discrīmināre, discrīmināt-, from discrīmen, discrīmin-, distinction; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present discriminates, present participle discriminating, simple past and past participle discriminated)
- (intransitive) To make distinctions.
- Since he was colorblind he was unable to discriminate between the blue and green bottles.
- (intransitive, construed with against) To make decisions based on prejudice.
- The law prohibits discriminating against people based on their skin color.
- To set apart as being different; to mark as different; to separate from another by discerning differences; to distinguish.
Due to the strong pejorative connotations of sense of “decide based on prejudice”, care should be taken in using the term in the sense “distinguish, make distinctions”, and this sense is primarily used in formal discourse; synonyms are generally used instead.
(comparative more discriminate, superlative most discriminate)
- Having the difference marked; distinguished by certain tokens.