I think prejudice is too general. The definition Google gives me for prejudice is: "preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience." - it doesn't specify that this preconceived opinion is due to membership in some group (or, more specifically, perceived membership in a group), although it seems to have that connotation, so maybe that is what I should go with.

I think bigotry is too strong.
For bigotry, we have (wikipedia): "Bigotry is a state of mind where a person strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. "

Bigotry sort of connotes hatred, not just bias.

I want a way to describe the fact that a particular statement reveals an attitude that is unfairly biased against a culturally significant group, which may or may not be intentional or malicious.

  • What kind of group are we talking about? There are terms for discriminating against certain groups, such as sexist, racist, etc.
    – Arradras
    Nov 13, 2014 at 0:25
  • maybe repugnance, dislike, antipathy, repulsion?
    – Arsen Y.M.
    Nov 13, 2014 at 0:36
  • 4
    bias? (filler words)
    – pazzo
    Nov 13, 2014 at 0:43
  • 1
    Are you sure 'prejudice' is too general?
    – Mitch
    Nov 13, 2014 at 0:51
  • 1
    Please give an example sentence to explain how you would like to use this word. Nov 13, 2014 at 12:17

6 Answers 6


Prejudice is used to refer to any kind of prejudgement based on one or more traits or characteristics. I think that is exactly what you are looking for.

However, it comes down to how you define "a group." Since you can group people based on their traits or characteristics, then prejudice fits nicely.

On the other hand, if you mean "a group" as in "a voluntary association of individuals", then perhaps the more specific phrase social prejudice is what you are looking for.

Maybe the recently coined friendism might be more appropriate. Friendism is prejudice against those who are not your friends.

A perfect term might be group-ism, which has been coined by a number of online writers to classify all prejudicial -isms. However, be careful not to confuse group-ism with groupism, which means a person's tendency to conform to the expectations and standards of the group(s) to which that person belongs. Perhaps someday, groupism will absorb group-ism.


The terms used most commonly to describe a feeling of blanket antagonism toward a group of people based on that group's defining characteristic differ from one such characteristic to another.

I ran a series of Google Books searches for the years 1900–2000 comparing the frequency of occurrence of the terms bias, bigotry, discrimination, hostility, intolerance, and prejudice in association with five adjectives: racial, religious, ethnic, sexual, and gender. Here are the resulting Ngram charts.

First, for terms attached to racial:

This chart suggests that the most common relevant phrases in the context of racial antagonism are racial discrimination (yellow line), racial prejudice (red line), and racial bias (green line).

Second, for terms attached to religious:

Here the top three choices are religious intolerance (navy blue line), religious discrimination (yellow line) and religious bigotry (blue line), with religious prejudice (red line) somewhat less frequent since 1960 than it was during the 40 years before that.

Third, for terms attached to ethnic:

Here ethnic discrimination (yellow line) and ethnic prejudice (red line) easily outdistance the other four options.

Fourth, for terms attached to sexual:

Here sexual discrimination (yellow line) is vastly more common than any other choice, with sexual bias (green line) slightly ahead of the rest of the trailing pack.

Fifth, for terms attached to gender:

Here gender discrimination (yellow line) and gender bias (green line) dwarf the other four options.

These charts indicate that discrimination is the most common term associated with four of the five adjectives (all but religious, though it may not be more common than bias in the context of gender) and that it is a strong contender there as well.

Prejudice has its strongest showings in connection with racial and ethnic. Bias is most prominent in connection with gender. Intolerance is the most frequent of the five nouns I examined in the context of religious. Bigotry appears in the top three options only once—in association with religious. Hostility does best in connection with ethnic, but it is the least frequent option in most other situations.

For application across all categories, discrimination may be the most suitable choice; it has certainly experienced a remarkable increase in frequency of use over the past half century in most contexts. Nevertheless, for specific types of group-based animosity, other terms may have special resonance.

  • discrimination and antagonism are two different things. The former requires an act. I can be disgusted by orcs and have a bias against them, but if I never meet one there is no consequence.
    – Oldcat
    Nov 13, 2014 at 22:17
  • @Oldcat: I think that a lot depends on how you interpret the word discrimination. I agree with you to this extent: In the context of law, discrimination refers to speech, conduct, or action that is harmful to the target group, whereas antagonism can be silent and (theoretically at least) without real-world consequences. But Merriam-Webster's relevant definition of discrimination (3b) includes "outlook" among its terms: "prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment." Under this definition, I think, a prejudiced outlook toward orcs would qualify as "orc discrimination."
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 13, 2014 at 22:50

or, perhaps


I like the word aversion.

i.e.: "He clearly has an aversion to immigrants."


I think "racist" is the common vernacular. You cite "against" as in derogatory so that seems to be how the label is applied, whether or not to an actual race but group.

You can make a positive like so-and-so are a rich and industrious people and that's socially acceptable.


For an adjective rather than a noun you could use 'predisposed'. It's more usual for it to be followed by 'towards' to mean 'in favour of', but 'predisposed against' sounds fine to me.

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