a. The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions: “This is not actually a volume of the best short stories … These are just the stories that I like best, and I am full of prejudice and strong opinions” (Ann Patchett).
b. An adverse judgment or opinion formed unfairly or without knowledge of the facts: a boy with a prejudice against unfamiliar foods.
2. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular social group, such as a race or the adherents of a religion.
a. Detriment or harm caused to a person, especially in a legal case: The delay operated to her prejudice.
b. Preclusionary effect, preventing further pursuit of one's interests: The case was dismissed with prejudice.
tr.v. prej·u·diced, prej·u·dic·ing, prej·u·dic·es
1. To fill with prejudice or cause to judge with prejudice: My rural upbringing has prejudiced me against living in the city. See Synonyms at bias.
2. To affect detrimentally or harmfully by a judgment or act: Negative media coverage prejudiced people's opinion of the mayor.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praeiūdicium : prae-, pre- + iūdicium, judgment (from iūdex, iūdic-, judge; see deik- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.