Word of the Day

bias

Origin of the word

Although the origin of the word bias is not known for certain, it may derive from Old French in the 13th century by way of Old Provençal ‘biais’ meaning ‘at an angle or crosswise’. The Old French meaning of ‘against the grain or sideways’ is similar and the French definition was ‘a slope or slant’, which by the 1520s had become ‘a diagonal line or oblique’. In the 1560s and 1570s, the game of bowls adopted bias as a technical term to refer to balls that were weighted on one side, so that they curved when bowled. In due course, bias acquired a legal definition and came to mean ‘prejudice’. In the early 1600s, it was used in phrases such as ‘giving a bias to’ meaning ‘causing to incline to one side’.

Related words: biased, unbiased



Examples

“A jersey wrap dress is no longer enough, opines Saunders, although he has retained some in the collection — it is, after all to DVF what the LBD or boucle jacket is to Chanel. But now they’re bias cut in silk crepe de chine. There’s bias cutting throughout, which lends the silhouettes a sinuous elegance — and a new polished finish to the clothes.” – The Telegraph. 16 September 2016: Diane Von Furstenberg gets modernised: Jonathan Saunders on raising the quality but not the prices of an iconic New York brand.

“Other animals, such as polar bears or chimpanzees also have handedness — chimpanzees have been known to prefer one hand to the other when using tools or looking for food, but the split within a population hangs around 50/50. Humans are the only species that show a truly distinct bias toward one hand or the other: a 90/10 right/left split throughout the population.” – Smithsonianmag.com. 12 September 2013: Why are some people left-handed?

Definition

1. an attitude that you have that makes you treat someone in a way that is unfair or different from the way you treat other people
2. a special interest or ability in a particular thing, or a particular tendency
3. the edge of a piece of cloth cut at a slight angle to the fibres

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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