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[in-i-kwol-i-tee] /ˌɪn ɪˈkwɒl ɪ ti/
noun, plural inequalities.
the condition of being unequal; lack of equality; disparity:
inequality of size.
  1. social or economic disparity:
    inequality between the rich and the poor; widening income inequality in America.
  2. unequal opportunity or treatment resulting from this disparity:
    inequality in healthcare and education.
disparity or relative inadequacy in natural endowments:
a startling inequality of intellect, talents, and physical stamina.
injustice; partiality.
unevenness, as of surface.
an instance of unevenness.
variableness, as of climate.
  1. any component part of the departure from uniformity in astronomical phenomena, especially in orbital motion.
  2. the amount of such a departure.
Mathematics. a statement that two quantities are unequal, indicated by the symbol ≠; alternatively, by the symbol <, signifying that the quantity preceding the symbol is less than that following, or by the symbol >, signifying that the quantity preceding the symbol is greater than that following.
Origin of inequality
late Middle English
First recorded in 1375-1425; late Middle English word from Latin word inaequālitās. See in-3, equality Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inequality
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To define equality that which is contrary to inequality, is improper.

    Aristotle George Grote
  • The most distinctive mark of quantity is that equality and inequality are predicated of it.

    The Categories Aristotle
  • This has intensified and called out many of the worst features of antagonism and inequality.

    The Ethics of Coperation James Hayden Tufts
  • Never had the inequality of numbers fore and aft been less than now.

  • The inequality of the rays falling upon the trees outside told that the light had its origin in a flickering fire only.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
British Dictionary definitions for inequality


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being unequal; disparity
an instance of disparity
lack of smoothness or regularity
social or economic disparity
  1. a statement indicating that the value of one quantity or expression is not equal to another, as in xy
  2. a relationship between real numbers involving inequality: x may be greater than y, denoted by x>y, or less than y, denoted by x<y
(astronomy) a departure from uniform orbital motion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inequality

early 15c., "difference of rank or dignity," from Old French inequalité (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin inaequalitas, from Latin inaequalis "unequal," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + aequalis "equal" (see equal).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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