Dictionary Definitions of “Bias”

Below are several dictionary and encyclopedia definitions of the word “bias.” A link to each definition is included in the references.

Merriam Webster
“To give a settled and often prejudiced outlook to.” ​1​

“A particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned.​2​
“Unreasonably hostile feelings or opinions about a social group.” ​2​

Cambridge Dictionary
“The action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way, because of allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment.” ​3​
“An unfair personal opinion that influences your judgment.” ​3​
“The fact of preferring someone or something.” ​3​“The fact of allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment in an unfair way.” ​3​
“The fact that information is not correct because of the method used in collecting or presenting it.” ​3​

The Free Dictionary
“A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.” ​4​
“An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.” ​4​
“Mental tendency or inclination, esp an irrational preference or prejudice.” ​4​
“A particular tendency or inclination, esp. one that prevents impartial consideration of a question; prejudice.” ​4​
“An inclination for or against that inhibits impartial judgment.” ​4​

Collins Dictionary
“Bias is a tendency to prefer one person or thing to another, and to favour that person or thing.” ​5​
“Bias is a concern with or interest in one thing more than others.” ​5​
“Mental tendency or inclination, esp an irrational preference or prejudice.” ​5​

“Bias is disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing.” ​6​

Encyclopedia Britannica
Confirmation Bias (psychology)
“Confirmation bias, the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information. Existing beliefs can include one’s expectations in a given situation and predictions about a particular outcome. People are especially likely to process information to support their own beliefs when the issue is highly important or self-relevant.” ​7​


  1. 1.
    Merriam Webster . Bias. Merriam Webster. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bias
  2. 2.
    Dictionary.com . Bias. Dictionary.com. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/bias?s=t
  3. 3.
    Cambridge Dictionary . Cambridge Dictionary. Bias. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/bias
  4. 4.
    The Free Dictionary . Bias. The Free Dictionary. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bias
  5. 5.
    Collins Dictionary . Bias. Collins Dictionary. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/bias
  6. 6.
    Wikipedia . Bias. Wikipedia. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias
  7. 7.
    Encyclopedia Britannica . Confirmation Bias. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/science/confirmation-bias

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