See more synonyms for inequality on
noun, plural in·e·qual·i·ties.
  1. 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.
  2. disparity or relative inadequacy in natural endowments: a startling inequality of intellect, talents, and physical stamina.
  3. injustice; partiality.
  4. unevenness, as of surface.
  5. an instance of unevenness.
  6. variableness, as of climate.
  7. Astronomy.
    1. any component part of the departure from uniformity in astronomical phenomena, especially in orbital motion.
    2. the amount of such a departure.
  8. 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

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Latin word inaequālitās. See in-3, equality Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for inequality

Contemporary Examples of inequality

Historical Examples of inequality

  • And the upshot of that dumb battle is inequality—and beauty.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • The inequality of the contest adds greatly to the humour of the scene.

  • Hence there is a principle of inequality, and therefore of motion, in all time.



  • Then the one partakes of inequality, and in respect of this the others are unequal to it?

  • That would imply likeness and unlikeness, equality and inequality.

British Dictionary definitions for inequality


noun plural -ties
  1. the state or quality of being unequal; disparity
  2. an instance of disparity
  3. lack of smoothness or regularity
  4. social or economic disparity
  5. maths
    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
  6. 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

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