When someone discriminates based on race we call that person a racist. When someone discriminates based on one sex we call that person a sexist. What about when someone discriminates based on sexual orientation, country of origin, species, or age? Are there words to describe a person like that?

Also, is there a general term to describe those words?

  • Bigoted is one term you might use.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 8, 2015 at 23:21
  • You're asking about a whole bunch of different things, each of which have their own terms, or can be grouped under generic terms too. You need to be more specific. Apr 9, 2015 at 0:28

4 Answers 4



: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)



Prejudiced may be a general term, but I'd use proper definitions as follows:

  • holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions

Xenophobic, for someone who discriminates people for their origin:

  • fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or of people from different countries or cultures. (AHD)

Homophobic, for those who discriminates against sexual orientation:

  • having unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality. (AHD)

Ageism , for prejudice based on age.

  • Discrimination based on age, especially prejudice against the elderly. (Collins)

The Free Dictionary


Bigot, as Morgan Horse answered, has pretty much exactly the denotation you want. However, it also has connotations that make it less than ideal for some applications:

  • In my experience, it connotes conscious, and even enthusiastic, discrimination.
  • It's usually read as very perjorative.
  • Because bigot is a noun, describing someone as a bigot suggests that their discriminatory behavior is an essential character trait.

In places where these connotations may be undesirable—for example, in sociology research, where the discriminatory behavior under investigation is often unconscious, and researchers tend to avoid making explicit moral judgments about their subjects—the more vague but more neutral adjective biased is sometimes used instead, its meaning being made clear from context.

  • Are you attempting to imply that racist or sexist aren't noxious or pejorative?
    – DougM
    Apr 9, 2015 at 2:41
  • Now that you mention it, I do seem to read racist and sexist as less perjorative than bigoted, and I'm not sure why—maybe just because they're used more often in my circles? Different people read things differently, of course, and the things I say in my answer only reflect my best guesses at what's typical. To me, racist and sexist also have weaker connotations than bigoted of conscious behavior. I'd love to hear whether other speakers have the same associations!
    – Vectornaut
    Apr 10, 2015 at 5:38
  • 1
    @DougM: Maybe what's more relevant is that, in my experience, racist and sexist can sometimes be used in a somewhat neutral sense, so it wasn't clear to me that the OP was looking for a perjorative word. I wrote this answer in case of that.
    – Vectornaut
    Apr 10, 2015 at 5:42

Chauvinism is an attitude of entitlement or superiority based on membership of some group (such as "men", "Europeans", or "white people"). To me it feels a little less aggressive than "bigotry", if only because it's more mellifluous.

"Chauvinist" perhaps emphasizes the arrogance of the person, while "bigot" emphasizes their prejudiced views on others, but in any case one is just the converse of the other.

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