Meaning of UNFAIR in English



1. not treating people in a way that is reasonable or equal

2. unfair treatment because of someone’s race, sex, age etc

3. when a report, description etc is unfair

4. when one person or group is treated much better than others

5. a situation or decision which is very unfair




see also





1. not treating people in a way that is reasonable or equal

▷ unfair/not fair /ˌʌnˈfeəʳ◂, nɒt ˈfeəʳ/ [adjective]

not treating everyone equally, or not treating people in a way that most people think is right :

▪ The present welfare system is grossly unfair.

▪ unfair laws

▪ Do you think I’m being unfair?

▪ I don’t want to be unfair, but you have to admit she behaved stupidly.

it’s/that’s not fair


▪ Why do I always have to do the laundry? It’s not fair!

▪ That’s not fair - it puts me at a disadvantage!

it is unfair that/it is not fair that

▪ It seems very unfair that she got all the blame.

it is unfair/not fair to do something

▪ It’s not fair to have a dog if you’re out at work all day.

▪ I told him it wasn’t fair to treat her any differently.

unfair/not fair to/on

▪ This sort of arrangement is not fair on the players, and not fair on the fans.

▪ The tax laws are very unfair to the self-employed

not fair/unfair of somebody (to do something)

▪ It’s unfair of you to judge all young people in the same way.

▷ unreasonable /ʌnˈriːz ə nəb ə l/ [adjective]

not fair or not sensible :

▪ It is possible for telephone companies to make profit without charging unreasonable rates.

▪ Some news media have described the government’s actions as excessive and unreasonable.

▪ She divorced her husband on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

▪ It didn’t seem like an unreasonable request.

it is unreasonable (for somebody) to do something

▪ It’s unreasonable to expect people to pay for something they haven’t even seen yet.

▪ It is not unreasonable for parents to want schools to reinforce the values children are taught at home.

▷ undeserved /ˌʌndɪˈzɜːʳvd◂/ [adjective]

a punishment or criticism that is undeserved is unfair because you do not deserve it :

▪ He’s come in for a lot of criticism, most of it completely undeserved.

▪ Unfortunately, Lamarck has developed an undeserved reputation as a loser.

▪ an undeserved and unwarranted attack

▷ biased /ˈbaɪəst/ [adjective not usually before noun]

unfairly against, or unfairly in favour of a particular group :

▪ The system is so biased that many citizens simply do not register to vote.

biased towards/biased in favour of

▪ Export policy has been biased towards overseas customers.

▪ Much of the information the clinics gave people was incomplete and biased in favour of educated middle-class clients.

biased against

▪ University acceptance policies seem to be biased against minorities.

▷ unjust /ˌʌnˈdʒʌst◂/ [adjective]

not fair or right according to the principles or ideas of a particular society :

▪ They didn’t mind breaking the law because they believed the law was unjust.

▪ an unjust and pointless war

▪ The legal aid charity has helped overturn some notoriously unjust verdicts.

unjustly [adverb]

▪ Amnesty International launched a new campaign on behalf of people who have been unjustly imprisoned.

▷ favour British /favor American /ˈfeɪvəʳ/ [transitive verb not usually in progressive]

to treat one person in a group better than others, when you should treat all of them the same :

▪ Many teachers favour boys, often without even realizing it.

favour somebody over somebody

▪ The Federal Republic denied that its policies favored any race over another.

2. unfair treatment because of someone’s race, sex, age etc

▷ discrimination /dɪˌskrɪmɪˈneɪʃ ə n, dɪˌskrɪməˈneɪʃ ə n/ [uncountable noun]

discrimination against

▪ The Department was notorious for its blatant discrimination against non-U.S. citizen employees.

▪ The policy forbids any form of discrimination against gay and lesbian students.

racial discrimination

discrimination because of someone’s race

▪ a plan to tackle racial discrimination in the police force

sexual/sex/gender discrimination

discrimination because of someone’s sex

▪ a sex discrimination case

age discrimination

discrimination because of someone’s age, especially if they are quite old

▪ He believed his boss had violated the age discrimination law.

reverse discrimination

the practice of treating unfairly a group of people who usually have advantages, in order to be fair to people who do not have those advantages

▪ White-male fears of reverse discrimination have been widely exaggerated.

▷ discriminate against /dɪˈskrɪmɪneɪt əgenst , dɪˈskrɪməneɪt əgenst somebody/ [transitive phrasal verb]

to treat someone unfairly because of their race, sex, age etc - use this especially about companies, the police, judges etc :

▪ Shaun says he has definitely been discriminated against because he’s black.

▪ Why do so many companies think it’s OK to discriminate against older people?

▷ prejudice /ˈpredʒɑdɪs, ˈpredʒɑdəs/ [countable/uncountable noun]

when people do not like or trust someone who is different, for example because they belong to a different race, country, religion etc :

▪ For years he has fought against prejudice and racial hatred.

prejudice against

▪ a rising prejudice against gays

racial prejudice

prejudice because of someone’s race

▪ The number of hate crimes spurred by racial prejudice is increasing in our state.

▷ inequality /ˌɪnɪˈkwɒlɪti, ˌɪnɪˈkwɒlətiǁ-ˈkwɑː-/ [countable/uncountable noun]

when people do not have the same rights or opportunities in their education, their jobs etc, because of their sex, race, or social class :

inequality in

▪ The report looks at inequality in education.

inequality between

▪ The study shows that large inequalities still exist between men and women.

inequality of/in

▪ Most of the complaints centered on the inequality of the justice system.

social/sexual/racial etc inequality

▪ Social inequality is likely to increase in the 21st century.

▪ signs of economic inequality

▷ discriminatory /dɪˈskrɪmɪnət ə riǁ-tɔːri/ [adjective]

discriminatory laws, systems etc treat one particular group in society, such as women or black people, unfairly :

▪ Congress is to launch an inquiry into discriminatory acts by immigration officials.

▪ The government enacted laws to protect women from discriminatory employment practices.

▪ Was there evidence of discriminatory treatment?

▷ double standards /ˌdʌb ə l ˈstændəʳdz/ [plural noun]

an attitude or belief, usually about the way you should behave, that is unfairly thought to be correct for one group in society but not for another :

▪ Their action is designed to call attention to the double standards operating in the Mexican judicial system.

▪ What disturbs me most is the racial double standard that exists in foreign policy: Predominantly white countries are given aid and attention while predominantly non-white countries are ignored.

3. when a report, description etc is unfair

▷ unfair /ˌʌnˈfeəʳ◂/ [adjective]

▪ The press has been accused of unfair coverage of the recent elections.

▪ There is nothing unfair about a story that is written from both points of view.

▷ biased /ˈbaɪəst/ [adjective not usually before noun]

a biased report, account etc is unfair and not correct because it supports one particular group, usually because the writer or newspaper has a connection with that group :

▪ There have been complaints about biased reporting in the tabloid press.

biased towards/biased in favour of

▪ Most newspapers are biased towards one political party or the other.

biased against

▪ Roughly four-fifths of Sun readers believed the paper was biased against the Labour party.

▷ one-sided /ˌwʌn ˈsaɪdə̇d◂/ [adjective]

a one-sided account, description etc is unfair because it only gives one opinion and not the opposite one, or only tells one part of the story when there are other equally important parts :

▪ Newspapers often give a very one-sided account of political events.

▪ Corcoran called the accusations unjust and one-sided.

▷ slanted /ˈslɑːntɪd, ˈslɑːntədǁˈslæn-/ [adjective]

presenting facts or information in a way that favours one opinion or side of an argument :

▪ White will make a tough stand against slanted reporting.

slanted in favour of

▪ Her arguments are clearly slanted in favour of capital punishment, in spite of her religious convictions.

4. when one person or group is treated much better than others

▷ favouritism British /favoritism American /ˈfeɪv ə rɪtɪz ə m, ˈfeɪv ə rətɪz ə m/ [uncountable noun]

when a teacher, parent, manager etc treats one person in a much better way than the others because they like that person, not because that person deserves it :

▪ Within government, favoritism and nepotism are rampant.

▪ If I give Paul the job, I’ll be accused of favoritism.

favouritism towards British /toward


▪ The Labor Secretary said there had been no favoritism toward management in the dispute.

▷ preferential treatment /ˌprefərenʃ ə l ˈtriːtmənt/ [uncountable noun]

if a particular person or group gets preferential treatment, they are treated better than other people and therefore have an advantage over them :

▪ She has insisted that she receive no preferential treatment for being an American citizen.

give somebody preferential treatment

▪ I get the impression it’s busty women who are given preferential treatment around here.

receive/get preferential treatment

▪ Neither I nor my company received any preferential treatment from the White House.

▷ nepotism /ˈnepətɪz ə m/ [uncountable noun]

when someone in authority gives jobs or special treatment to members of their family - use this to show disapproval :

▪ He resigned, amid rumours of nepotism.

▪ Nepotism is an old story in Hollywood circles.

5. a situation or decision which is very unfair

▷ injustice /ɪnˈdʒʌstɪs, ɪnˈdʒʌstəs/ [countable/uncountable noun]

when people are treated with great unfairness, especially in connection with their legal rights :

▪ She will be remembered for her ceaseless campaigning against injustice.

▪ These injustices are intolerable, especially when the victims are children.

economic/social/racial injustice

▪ The group, called the Wilmington 10, were active in protests against racial injustices in the schools in the early 1970s.

▷ travesty /ˈtrævɪsti, ˈtrævəsti/ [countable noun]

a situation that is extremely unfair and morally wrong because it has completely the opposite result to the one it is supposed to have :

▪ The Salem witch trials have proved to be a legal travesty.

a travesty of justice

▪ Not allowing her to speak in her own defence was a travesty of justice.

▷ miscarriage of justice /mɪsˌkærɪdʒ əv ˈdʒʌstə̇s/ [noun phrase]

a situation in which someone is wrongly punished for a crime that they were not responsible for :

▪ Whenever a miscarriage of justice is discovered, people lose respect for the law.

▪ The safeguards are intended to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

a gross miscarriage of justice

a very serious miscarriage

▪ The execution was a gross miscarriage of justice against an innocent man.

Longman Activator English vocab.      Английский словарь Longman активатор .