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prejudice

[prej-uh-dis]
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noun
  1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
  2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
  3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.
  4. such attitudes considered collectively: The war against prejudice is never-ending.
  5. damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.
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verb (used with object), prej·u·diced, prej·u·dic·ing.
  1. to affect with a prejudice, either favorable or unfavorable: His honesty and sincerity prejudiced us in his favor.
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Idioms
  1. without prejudice, Law. without dismissing, damaging, or otherwise affecting a legal interest or demand.
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Origin of prejudice

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French < Latin praejūdicium prejudgment, orig. preliminary or previous judicial inquiry, equivalent to prae- pre- + jūdicium legal proceedings, judging (jūdic-, stem of jūdex judge + -ium -ium)
Related formsprej·u·diced·ly, adverbprej·u·dice·less, adjectivenon·prej·u·diced, adjectivequa·si-prej·u·diced, adjective
Can be confusedprejudiced prejudicial

Synonyms

See more synonyms for prejudice on Thesaurus.com
2. preconception, partiality, predilection, predisposition. 6. bias, influence.

Synonym study

2. See bias.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prejudices

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Mr. Paine did not admire Mrs. Davis, and was not likely to be influenced by her prejudices.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He had a dislike to that country, and I grew up in his prejudices.

  • She had come to believe almost his theory of the future, since it was not repugnant to her prejudices.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • He was not the man to defer in that way to the prejudices of others.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Locke, yielding to the prejudices of the time, took the same ground.


British Dictionary definitions for prejudices

prejudice

noun
  1. an opinion formed beforehand, esp an unfavourable one based on inadequate facts
  2. the act or condition of holding such opinions
  3. intolerance of or dislike for people of a specific race, religion, etc
  4. disadvantage or injury resulting from prejudice
  5. to the prejudice of to the detriment of
  6. without prejudice law without dismissing or detracting from an existing right or claim
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verb (tr)
  1. to cause to be prejudiced
  2. to disadvantage or injure by prejudice
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Word Origin

C13: from Old French préjudice, from Latin praejūdicium a preceding judgment, disadvantage, from prae before + jūdicium trial, sentence, from jūdex a judge
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 prejudices

prejudice

n.

c.1300, "despite, contempt," from Old French prejudice "prejudice, damage" (13c.), from Medieval Latin prejudicium "injustice," from Latin praeiudicium "prior judgment," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + iudicium "judgment," from iudex (genitive iudicis) "a judge" (see judge (v.)). Meaning "injury, physical harm" is mid-14c., as is legal sense "detriment or damage caused by the violation of a legal right." Meaning "preconceived opinion" (especially but not necessarily unfavorable) is from late 14c. in English.

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prejudice

v.

mid-15c., "to injure or be detrimental to," from prejudice (n.). The meaning "to affect or fill with prejudice" is from c.1600. Related: Prejudiced; prejudicing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

prejudices in Culture

prejudice

A hostile opinion about some person or class of persons. Prejudice is socially learned and is usually grounded in misconception, misunderstanding, and inflexible generalizations. In particular, African-Americans have been victims of prejudice on a variety of social, economic, and political levels. (See civil rights movement and segregation.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.