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Puzzled by English - the "prejudice" word | 112 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Puzzled by English - the "prejudice" word
Authored by: Jim Olsen on Friday, November 16 2012 @ 08:43 AM EST
You are quite right. While the primary meaning is "to have an adverse opinion in advance of a proper judgement", a secondary meaning is to have an adverse effect, irrespective of any judgement. This secondary meaning is more common in a legal context, but is also in general use.

---
Jim ---

Success in crime always invites to worse deeds. - Lord Coke

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Not sure about that - I always thought the two are related
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 16 2012 @ 09:21 AM EST
"I am prejudiced against..."

- ie. I have pre-judged the issue, and am biased based on my
initial judgement regardless of how things later turn out.

"Dismissal with prejudice"

- ie. the issue has been pre-judged for any future case, and
the issue has been resolved without need to try it again. If
it were to come up again, the issue has been pre-judged.

I hadn't considered it might mean "dismissal with damage",
but then I'm not a lawyer, so maybe I'm wrong.

I assume "Terminated with extreme prejudice" is the damage
definition of the phrase though.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

No mistake - one word with one root
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 16 2012 @ 12:47 PM EST
There is no mistake. Prejudice has only one root and its two separate meanings
do not come from the conflation of two different ideas.

The Latin root of prejudice is preajudicium meaning "prior judgement".
I suspect that the English cognate for perjuicio is perjury rather than
prejudice, making perjuicio and prejudice false cognates.

I'd be curious to know the etymology of perjuicio - I believe it would come from
the Latin periurare for "to swear a false oath" (which implies a kind
of spiritual harm) just as the English word perjury comes from that root.

I can understand where this confusion comes from, even for native English
speakers. However, in my view the meaning of prejudice relating to harm (e.g.
granting this motion would prejudice the defendant) evolved from an equation of
having your rights prejudged with the harm that flows from such prejudgement.
That is, if you are the object of prejudice, you have been harmed by the fact
that your rights did not receive a full and/or fair hearing, or have been
completely circumvented and rendered meaningless.

Also, you might find the online etymology dictionary (www.etymonline.com)
helpful. :)

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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