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I am curious about the usage of word biasedness, I am unable to find it in Oxford's advance learners dictionary but on the internet. When tried to consult some expert, he said that it's a colloquial expression. So my questions is Is there a word biasedness and should we use it?

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Firstly, the expert was an idiot. Secondly it's not a common word. (As D explains, it means ... "bias"!) Thirdly if you stick "ness" on the end of anything (even another word that ends in ness), it makes reasonable sense. Fourthly it is absolutely perfectly clear what it means, interestingly enough. Fifthly ... FWIW: I can't find an example but it's worth noting that it would be completely normal to use that word, in certain technical (math, computer science .. wheel balancing) situations. One can imagine discussing biasedness in an algorithmic sense (there "bias" would be different). –  Joe Blow Apr 2 at 11:42
@JoeBlow Re the maths term, would that mean 'having a tendency towards being biased' rather than having an actual bias? –  Mynamite Apr 2 at 12:10
@Myan: I would say, imagine a crowd simulation (or indeed say a SimCity -like game). note that there could be things in the game, a bias, for example "desire to get to higher ground". Someone would program that actual "bias", so a "bias" would be "the actual" bias, the "thing" itself. (Literally, code (say) to make the character (say) move towards high ground.) Each agent (person, train, villain, whatever) could be biased. ("The green fairies exhibit bias #19, #3 and #2.") Now, that biasedness would have a measure (say from 0 to 100). So regarding bias #19 ("higher ground")... –  Joe Blow Apr 2 at 12:40
... green fairies could be biasedness == 75, all dragons biasedness == 20, NPCs biasedness == 40, human characters biasedness == 55. I can see "bias" (noun) being different from "biasedness" (measure of how-biased? for a being). You could construct (more tortured!) a similar construction in talking about social issues, not programming - I guess! In short you could imagine social scientists studying/using the term "biasedness". phew! :) –  Joe Blow Apr 2 at 12:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Based upon my inability to find it in a dictionary, I would say no. Biasedness is not a word.

Biased: containing bias or showing prejudice does not really lend itself to a modification by degrees using the suffix -ness.

Rather, you would modify by comparison saying: more biased or less biased.

His opinion seemed more biased than that of his opponent.

Or, better yet, just use the word bias.

On review, the bias of the test was quite apparent.

Bias in this context will carry the same meaning as biasedness is trying to impart.

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Pretty much what I was going to say! Unless the OP has some specific context which I cannot think of, bias really should cover it. –  AAT Apr 2 at 3:29
@AAT see the comments section on: english.stackexchange.com/a/160740/59527. MT_Head's comments are fairly close to this case. Even though I disagreed with his premise there. –  David M Apr 2 at 3:31
Thanks for pointing me to an interesting discussion! –  AAT Apr 2 at 3:52
Thanx for the explanation David M. So is it important for a word to be present in Oxford Dictionary to be real ? I have "Biasedness" in my Advance english dictionary app on mobile though. –  Shaminder Singh Apr 2 at 5:12
Sham -- there is absolutely no definition, whatsoever, at all - in any way - even close - of what a "real word" is. Nobody even slightly agrees on the concept. Look on the questions today - someone asked about "rateable". IMO, that's now a perfectly normal word in computing lingo. Whereas IMO, "biasedness" is stupid. HOWEVER if in five years, biasedness is very commonly used, you could then say: "it is commonly used but stupid". –  Joe Blow Apr 2 at 11:44

As there is the noun bias meaning an attitude based on prejudice there is actually no need for a word formation such as biasedness. Obviously the latter is a word some people use in spoken colloquial language that up to now has not obtained official status by dictionary makers.

But it is interesting to think about the logic of this new word formation. Often people have more sense than dictionary makers and what today is seen as incorrect may be common in the next or in two generations.

Well, what may be the cause for the new word? The noun bias is actually a foreign and exotic word and it is a metapher. It is used in the sense of prejudice, but actually means obliqueness. I might guess that people use this noun not so often as the word biased for prejudiced. And it is not so illogical when people form from the more common word biased a new noun "biasedness" that expresses clearly by its suffix the idea of "the state of being biased".

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Yes that's exactly how I would interpret it too - that state of being biased. It seems a perfectly reasonable word to me. –  user24964 Apr 2 at 11:06
It's not the state of being biased, it is the measure of biasedness. (Interestingly, I had to use the word at the end of that sentence!) (Again though ... not many situations where you couldn't just use "bias".) (BUT on the other hand, "bias" is the "thing" (the exhibited emotion), biased is a verb, and biasedness is the measure of that verb. –  Joe Blow Apr 2 at 11:49
In my understanding the suffix -ness means being: wellness is well + being. –  rogermue Apr 2 at 11:55

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