I am reading a book and I came across a phrase I don't understand:

A newspaper office seems to attract every conceivable sort of person, to the prejudice of discipline.

I don't know what to make of "to the prejudice of discipline". Can someone please explain?

Please search the text of the book for the context.


1 Answer 1


In this case:

  • prejudice means "detriment; damage".


  • [..]
  • damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.
  • to the prejudice of: to the detriment of.


  • discipline means "behavior in accord with rules of conduct".

  • "to the prejudice of discipline" means that the discipline suffers because the newspaper office attracts all kinds of people. The next sentence from the book shows an example of this:

Zenana-mission ladies arrive, and beg that the Editor will instantly abandon all his duties [..]

  • 2
    I believe it has an Army origin, conduct prejudicial to the maintenance of discipline being (at the time) a useful charge to bring when nothing else fitted. Even if not, it has a military echo that was certainly intended. Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 23:29
  • @TimLymington Thanks for the extra information, it sounds like it's quite appropriate for this Kipling book.
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 1:09

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