1. A line going diagonally across the grain of fabric: Cut the cloth on the bias.
a. A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.
b. An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.
3. A statistical sampling or testing error caused by systematically favoring some outcomes over others.
a. A weight or irregularity in a ball that causes it to swerve, as in lawn bowling.
b. The tendency of such a ball to swerve.
5. The fixed voltage applied to an electrode.
Slanting or diagonal; oblique: a bias fold.
tr.v. bi·ased, bi·as·ing, bi·as·es or bi·assed or bi·as·sing or bi·as·ses
1. To influence in a particular, typically unfair direction.
2. To apply a small voltage to (a grid).
[French biais, slant, from Provençal, perhaps ultimately from Greek epikarsios, slanted; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: bias, jaundice, prejudice
These verbs mean to influence in a particular, often unfavorable way. To bias is to cause to incline toward or away from something or someone: claimed that the ruling was biased against low-income workers; was biased by experience in favor of stronger regulation.
To jaundice is to predispose toward negativity or skepticism: Years of scandal have jaundiced her view of politics.
To prejudice is to cause to judge prematurely, without full knowledge or due consideration; it often, but not always, suggests bigotry: were prejudiced by their narrow upbringing against those of a different race; moved the trial so as to find jurors who had not been prejudiced by news coverage of the case.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.