[ in-i-kwol-i-tee ]
See synonyms for: inequalityinequalities on

noun,plural in·e·qual·i·ties.
  1. the condition of being unequal; lack of equality; disparity: inequality of size.

    • social or economic disparity: inequality between rich and poor people;widening income inequality in America.

    • unequal opportunity or treatment resulting from this disparity: inequality in healthcare and education.

  1. disparity or relative inadequacy in natural endowments: a startling inequality of intellect, talents, and physical stamina.

  2. unevenness, as of surface.

  3. an instance of unevenness.

  4. variableness, as of climate.

  5. Astronomy.

    • any component part of the departure from uniformity in astronomical phenomena, especially in orbital motion.

    • the amount of such a departure.

  6. 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 inequalite “unevenness, disparity,” from Old French inequalite, from Latin inaequālitāt- stem of inaequālitās “irregularity, inequity, inconsistency”; see origin at in-3, equality

Words Nearby inequality Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use inequality in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inequality


/ (ˌɪnɪˈkwɒlɪtɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. the state or quality of being unequal; disparity

  2. an instance of disparity

  1. lack of smoothness or regularity

  2. social or economic disparity

  3. maths

    • a statement indicating that the value of one quantity or expression is not equal to another, as in xy

    • 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

  4. 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