Etymology
Advertisement

discrimination (n.)

1640s, "the making of distinctions, act of observing or marking a difference," from Late Latin discriminationem (nominative discriminatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of discriminare "to divide, separate" (see discriminate (v.)). Sense of "making invidious distinctions prejudicial to a class of persons" (usually based on race or color) is from 1866 in American English in the language of Reconstruction. 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, "Letters to a Young Contrarian"]

updated on August 18, 2020

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of discrimination from WordNet

discrimination (n.)
unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice;
Synonyms: favoritism / favouritism
discrimination (n.)
the cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished;
Synonyms: secernment
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.