Definition of PREJUDICE

PREJUDICE Noun and Verb

Prejudice is primarily a noun that refers to preconceived opinions or judgments about individuals or groups, often based on stereotypes or insufficient information. It can also be used as a verb, meaning to influence someone unfairly or to cause harm to someone’s rights or position.

PREJUDICE as a noun

As a noun, prejudice describes an unfounded or irrational bias against individuals or groups, typically based on characteristics such as race, gender, religion, or nationality. This preconceived bias leads to unfair treatment and discrimination, often perpetuating social inequalities and injustices. Prejudice can manifest in various forms, including racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia, affecting both interpersonal interactions and institutional practices.

PREJUDICE as a verb

As a verb, prejudice means to adversely affect or influence someone’s judgment or situation in an unfair manner. For example, one might say, “The negative comments prejudiced the jury against the defendant.” In legal contexts, it can also refer to causing harm to someone’s legal rights or claims, such as in the phrase “to prejudice someone’s case.”

Sources and Causes: Prejudice often stems from socialization processes, cultural norms, and historical contexts. It can be learned through family, education, media, and societal institutions. Psychological factors, such as fear of the unknown or a desire to conform to group norms, can also contribute to the development and perpetuation of prejudicial attitudes. Historical conflicts, power imbalances, and socio-economic disparities further entrench prejudices within societies.

Effects on Society: The impact of prejudice on society is profound and far-reaching. It can lead to discrimination, social exclusion, and violence against targeted groups. Prejudice undermines social cohesion, perpetuates inequality, and hampers efforts to achieve social justice. Individuals who are victims of prejudice often experience psychological distress, reduced opportunities, and diminished quality of life.

Combatting Prejudice: Addressing prejudice requires concerted efforts at individual, community, and institutional levels. Education and awareness-raising initiatives can challenge stereotypes and promote empathy and understanding. Anti-discrimination laws and policies play a crucial role in protecting the rights of marginalized groups and promoting equal opportunities. Encouraging inclusive practices and fostering diverse environments can also help reduce prejudicial attitudes and behaviors.

Prejudice in Historical Context: Throughout history, prejudice has been a driving force behind many forms of social injustice, including slavery, colonialism, apartheid, and genocide. Understanding the historical roots of prejudice helps contextualize current social dynamics and highlights the importance of historical awareness in combating contemporary forms of discrimination.

Psychological Perspectives: From a psychological standpoint, prejudice can be analyzed through various theories, such as social identity theory, which suggests that individuals derive part of their self-concept from their group memberships. Prejudice may serve to enhance self-esteem by favoring one’s in-group over out-groups. Cognitive biases, such as the tendency to categorize and stereotype, also play a role in the formation and maintenance of prejudicial attitudes.

In conclusion, prejudice is a deeply ingrained societal issue that involves preconceived biases against individuals or groups, leading to unfair treatment and discrimination. It can manifest both as a noun, referring to the bias itself, and as a verb, indicating the act of influencing someone unfairly. Combatting prejudice requires a multi-faceted approach that includes education, legal protections, and efforts to foster inclusivity and understanding. By addressing the root causes and effects of prejudice, societies can work towards greater equality, social justice, and harmony.

PREJUDICE in a sentence

PREJUDICE as a noun in a sentence

  • The prejudice he faced at work made it difficult for him to advance in his career.
  • Prejudice against certain ethnic groups has a long and troubling history.
  • Her prejudice prevented her from seeing the situation objectively.
  • Efforts to combat prejudice in society require education and open dialogue.
  • The jury was instructed to set aside any prejudice they might have.
  • Overcoming prejudice is essential for creating a more inclusive community.
  • Prejudice can lead to unfair treatment and discrimination against individuals.
  • The film highlighted the destructive impact of prejudice on people’s lives.

PREJUDICE as a verb in a sentence

  • His remarks prejudiced the jury against the defendant.
  • The article’s biased reporting prejudiced public opinion on the issue.
  • She worried that her prior mistakes would prejudice her boss’s view of her performance.
  • The negative reviews prejudiced potential customers from trying the new restaurant.
  • It is important not to let stereotypes prejudice your judgment of others.
  • His experiences prejudiced him against trusting people easily.
  • The misinformation prejudiced many voters before the election.
  • The teacher’s comments prejudiced the class against the new student.


The term prejudice embarks on a linguistic journey, tracing its origins through centuries of philosophical and societal development. Rooted in Latin influence, it has evolved into a term that signifies preconceived notions and biases that affect judgment and behavior.

  • Latin Roots: The word prejudice originates from the Latin term “praejudicium,” which combines “prae-” meaning “before” and “judicium” meaning “judgment.” In its earliest usage, it denoted a judgment made in advance, often without proper examination of the facts.
  • Middle French Influence: The term transitioned into Middle French as “préjudice,” retaining its meaning of a preconceived opinion or judgment. It was used to describe the harm or disadvantage that could result from such premature judgments.
  • Transition to English: The term entered Middle English in the 14th century, adopting both its connotation of preconceived opinion and the resulting harm or disadvantage. It began to be used in legal contexts to describe cases where preconceptions affected the fairness of a judgment.
  • Contemporary Usage: In contemporary usage, prejudice encompasses a wide range of meanings, often referring to unfounded or irrational attitudes towards individuals or groups based on characteristics such as race, gender, or religion. It signifies a bias that can lead to discrimination and social injustice.

Prejudice stands as a term rich with historical and cultural significance, capturing the evolution of human thought and societal values. From its Latin origins to its modern-day implications, the word reflects the persistent challenge of overcoming biases and fostering a more equitable and just society.


  • Bias
  • Stereotype
  • Discrimination
  • Bigotry
  • Intolerance
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Xenophobia


  • Fairness
  • Tolerance
  • Acceptance
  • Open-mindedness
  • Equity
  • Justice
  • Equality
  • Inclusiveness


  • Discriminatory
  • Prejudiced
  • Bigot
  • Stereotyping
  • Prejudicial
  • Discrimination
  • Bias
  • Intolerance

🌐 🇬🇧 PREJUDICE in other languages

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