from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To make a clear distinction; distinguish: discriminate among the options available.
  • intransitive v. To make sensible decisions; judge wisely.
  • intransitive v. To make distinctions on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit; show preference or prejudice: was accused of discriminating against women; discriminated in favor of his cronies.
  • transitive v. To perceive the distinguishing features of; recognize as distinct: discriminate right from wrong.
  • transitive v. To distinguish by noting differences; differentiate: unable to discriminate colors.
  • transitive v. To make or constitute a distinction in or between: methods that discriminate science from pseudoscience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make distinctions.
  • v. To make decisions based on prejudice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the difference marked; distinguished by certain tokens.
  • intransitive v. To make a difference or distinction; to distinguish accurately.
  • intransitive v.
  • intransitive v. To treat unequally.
  • intransitive v. To impose unequal tariffs for substantially the same service.
  • transitive v. To set apart as being different; to mark as different; to separate from another by discerning differences; to distinguish.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To distinguish from something else, or from each other; separate observe or mark the differences between, absolutely or by some note or sign of distinction: as, to discriminate true from false modesty; to discriminate animals by names.
  • To select; pick out; make a distinction in regard to: as, to discriminate certain persons from a crowd of applicants.
  • To make a difference or distinction; observe or note a difference; distinguish: as, to discriminate between degrees of guilt.
  • Discriminating-perceiving nice differences.
  • Distinctive; discriminated.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. treat differently on the basis of sex or race
  • v. recognize or perceive the difference
  • adj. marked by the ability to see or make fine distinctions
  • v. distinguish


Latin discrīmināre, discrīmināt-, from discrīmen, discrīmin-, distinction; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare ("to divide, separate, distinguish"), from discrimen ("a space between, division, separation, distinction"), from discerno ("to divide, separate, distinguish, discern"); see discern, discreet, discrete. Compare crime. (Wiktionary)



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