# Is 'biasedness' a real word?

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?

• 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). Apr 2, 2014 at 11:42
• @JoeBlow Re the maths term, would that mean 'having a tendency towards being biased' rather than having an actual bias? Apr 2, 2014 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")... Apr 2, 2014 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! :) Apr 2, 2014 at 12:43

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.

• 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, 2014 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. Apr 2, 2014 at 3:31
• 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. Apr 2, 2014 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". Apr 2, 2014 at 11:44
• @Shaminder There is no single authority that decides what words are "standard". Rather the concept of standard is an evolution over time and common usage (particularly in well-respected publications). Words that are non-standard can become standard by common usage over time. But, a word like biasedness is unlikely to achieve that due to its awkwardness and being unnecessary. Apr 2, 2014 at 12:24

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".

• 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, 2014 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. Apr 2, 2014 at 11:49
• In my understanding the suffix -ness means being: wellness is well + being. Apr 2, 2014 at 11:55

To my understanding the implied meaning of 'BIASEDNESS' OR 'BIASM' (neither word exists in the English language and as an aside I note that is it is good that the overall language specification is accurate) as opposed to 'BIAS' is notably a NEGATIVE versus a NEUTRAL one, and these are therefore not the same or suitable substitutes for each other. The former two - 'biasedness' or 'biasm' - imply a meaning of unfair tendency whereas the latter - 'bias' - a neutral tendency in general. Unfortunately, the English language does not seem to cater for this need or gap as a noun in the language for the negative version (only in the form or context of the adjective, namely 'biased') and in order to improvise or fill this gap for a noun one could say 'being biased' (or similarly use the verb of your specific context). For example, '..is a case of your abuse of power and biasedness' would in my mind be more elegant than the improvisation of the noun or adoption of the adjective by saying '..is a case of of your abuse of power and being biased'. It would thus appear to me that there is a genuine gap in the English language which would warrant the introduction of such a word.

I believe that the word 'lol' (meaning 'lots of laughter') was introduced as a new English word by the Oxford dictionary. I presume the reason was due to the word 'lol' being used so extensively and consistently over years, however, the use of the word 'biasedness' is in a sense not so acute (used at a lesser rate or lesser quantity over the same period), yet the sought 'need' for it has surely existed over a much longer period (more historically, with the internet making us more aware of it) which would warrant its introduction much the same, well, in my opinion and reasoned estimation.

• Please explain your answer, preferably with some supporting statements and references. While opinions are valued, they are not of much help as answers.
– NVZ
Sep 15, 2016 at 4:05