Definition of bias in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbīəs/


1Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair: there was evidence of bias against foreign applicants the bias toward younger people in recruitment [in singular]: a systematic bias in favor of the powerful
More example sentences
  • Has there been prejudice and bias against the applicant by both the judge at first instance and by the majority of the Full Court?
  • Publication bias in favour of aspirin also exists.
  • In an article for today's paper, the government's transport adviser firmly rejects claims of an unfair bias in favour of London and the south-east.
1.1 [in singular] A concentration on or interest in one particular area or subject: he worked on a variety of Greek topics, with a discernible bias toward philosophy
More example sentences
  • He is interested in the human bias towards particular scientific ideas, not on the scale of a particular concrete example as in our pictures above, but within an entire area of science.
  • The downturn in the technology sector has been unkind to those with a strong bias towards this area.
  • There is a discernible bias to topics popular with the current generation of French and Russian mathematicians, who form the bulk of the authors.
1.2 Statistics A systematic distortion of a statistical result due to a factor not allowed for in its derivation.
Example sentences
  • Furthermore, the statistical bias varies with the filling factor.
  • Consideration of potential confounders, measures to prevent bias, and appropriate statistical analysis were mostly lacking.
  • We prefer a random partition that produces a point estimate with less bias than would result from a deterministic partition.
2In some sports, such as lawn bowling, the irregular shape given to a ball.
Example sentences
  • This model bowl has the Traditional bias which has stood the test of time wherever Lawn Bowls is played.
  • The bowls are not quite round. They are shaved on one side which gives them the bias.
  • Very easy to hold and with a predictable line it is a match for any modern bias bowl.
2.1The oblique course taken by a ball as a result of its irregular shape.
Example sentences
  • Bowling indoors is a completely different experience from outdoors and requires different characteristics in the bowls used, the artificial surface being very much faster and more prone to bias.
  • Heavy weight and Medium weight bowls run with the same bias.
  • Increased amounts of bias will reduce the maximum attainable speed. The top speed with maximum bias is approximately 55 mph!
3 Electronics A steady voltage, magnetic field, or other factor applied to an electronic system or device to cause it to operate over a predetermined range.
Example sentences
  • Semiconductor amplifying circuit having improved bias circuit for supplying a bias voltage to an amplifying FET
  • At higher T, it takes less time for thermal fluctuations to induce rupture under an applied bias force.
  • The experimental data suggest the opposite: increasing the applied voltage bias usually increases the duration of the current blockades.

verb (biases, biasing, biased)

[with object]
1 (usually be biased) Cause to feel or show inclination or prejudice for or against someone or something: readers said the paper was biased toward the conservatives the tests were biased against women and minorities
More example sentences
  • Some of them might even be open to argument along these lines, but the overwhelming vast majority of them will be biased against your views.
  • Examined from the learner's point of view, the standard approach is heavily biased against beginning students.
  • Questions are already being asked about whether the lead researcher was inherently biased against the drug.
prejudice, influence, color, sway, weight, predispose;
distort, skew, slant
bigoted, intolerant, discriminatory;
distorted, warped, twisted, skewed
2Give a bias to: bias the ball
More example sentences
  • Hence, the unbiased variance estimator may be negatively biased due to spatial autocorrelation.
  • When a MOS channel is formed by forward biasing the gate, a Zener tunnel current evolves with a steep turn-on characteristic.
  • The opening is urged to a closed position by resiliently biasing the filamentary members.


cut on the bias

(Of a fabric or garment) cut obliquely or diagonally across the grain.
Example sentences
  • Garment pieces cut on the bias should be pressed with the lengthwise grainline, to avoid stretching.
  • Then I trimmed that seam down to 1/4 ‘all around and finished it with a Hong Kong finish, using a sheer fabric cut on the bias.’
  • The undercollar is traditionally cut on the bias in two pieces with a center back seam.
diagonal, cross, slant, angle


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'oblique line'; also as an adjective meaning 'oblique'): from French biais, from Provençal, perhaps based on Greek epikarsios 'oblique'.

Words that rhyme with bias

Ananias, Darius, dryas, Elias, eyas, Gaius, hamadryas, Lias, Mathias, pious, Tobias

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bi·as

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.