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an act or instance of , or of making a distinction.
treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:
racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment:
She chose the colors with great discrimination.
Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.
Contemporary Examples

“I think they deserve equal rights in regards to say discrimination in the workplace,” Priebus told Meet the Press.
Gay Marriage, JP Morgan Chase, Barney Frank, and More Sunday Talk (VIDEO) The Daily Beast Video May 12, 2012

When asked about what appears to be a rising tide of discrimination against women in Israel, Livni was equally blunt.
Livni on Iran: Let’s Hope Sanctions Work R.M. Schneiderman March 8, 2012

And as bad as it might be for gay or lesbian people, the discrimination is markedly worse for transgender people.
State of LGBT Rights: Married on Sunday, but Fired on Monday Gene Robinson December 13, 2014

A key principle of just-war theory is the principle of discrimination: You should tailor your violence as narrowly as possible.
Trying to Kill Bashar al-Assad Not So Radical Given U.S. Security Interests Peter Beinart June 10, 2012

“To be honest, before I had North, I never really gave racism or discrimination a lot of thought,” the reality star writes.
Kim Kardashian Pens Essay on Racism; Blake Lively Looks Up to Gisele Bundchen The Fashion Beast Team May 7, 2014

Historical Examples

If the withdrawal did not remove the discrimination against St Cloud it would not at all events aggravate it.
Railroads: Rates and Regulations William Z. Ripley

Manufacturers are already beginning to make a discrimination between wool that is clean and that which is not so.
Address delivered by Hon. Henry H. Crapo, Governor of Michigan, before the Central Michigan Agricultural Society, at their Sheep-shearing Exhibition held at the Agricultural College Farm, on Thursday, May 24th, 1866 Henry Howland Crapo

Society, in the mass, lacks woefully in the matter of discrimination.
Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser

Facts should be regarded as poisons, to be used sparingly and with discrimination.
The Curse of Education Harold E. Gorst

There is such a natural kindness of disposition in me, blended with the most refined sense of discrimination.
A Day’s Ride Charles James Lever

unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc; action based on prejudice
subtle appreciation in matters of taste
the ability to see fine distinctions and differences
(electronics) the selection of a signal having a particular frequency, amplitude, phase, etc, effected by the elimination of other signals by means of a discriminator

1640s, “the making of distinctions,” from Late Latin discriminationem (nominative discriminatio), noun of action from past participle stem of discriminare (see discriminate). Especially in a prejudicial way, based on race, 1866, American English. Meaning “discernment” is from 1814.

It especially annoys me when racists are accused of ‘discrimination.’ The ability to discriminate is a precious facility; by judging all members of one ‘race’ to be the same, the racist precisely shows himself incapable of discrimination. [Christopher Hitchens]


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