a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.

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screamerer

Senior Member
Arabic
Hello to you all.

I was searching for the meaning of the word prejudice and came into the following example:

a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority. Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/prejudice


But I really can't understand that sentence:

1-What does it mean to operate to something?
2-What's meant by the prejudice of the majority?


Thank you.
 
  • morior_invictus

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.

    But I really can't understand that sentence:

    1-What does it mean to operate to something?
    2-What's meant by the prejudice of the majority?
    Let me help you a bit:

    a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.
    a law that produced effects to the detriment of more than half of people involved in a legal proceeding.
    a law that produced a detrimental effects on more than half of people involved in a legal proceeding.
    a law that worked against more than half of people involved in a legal proceeding.

    Hope this helps.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    That dictionary entry gives various meanings of the word 'prejudice', including this:
    5. damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.

    That definition is saying that 'prejudice' in the phrase quoted means 'detriment' or 'harm'.

    If we say that a law operates to the benefit of the majority, it means that the law works in such a way that it benefits most people.
    If a law operates to the prejudice of the majority, that means it works in such a way that it does harm to most people.

    'Prejudice', when it means 'harm', does not usually imply physical harm.
    It could mean harm to people's employment prospects, for example.
     

    screamerer

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Thank you wandle, your answer clarifies the meaning to me.

    When I first saw that statement, I remembered hearing something such as "..built to a standard", and likewise thought that statement talked about a law that operated improperly as a result of common prejudice.


    Thank you all.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I think it's an extremely poor definition, and this is the third time in as many days I've seen a misleading or inadequate definition quoted from that particular dictionary (which I've now stopped using)—once here in the form, another time in a private communication.

    If the law would harm the majority, I would have expected "operated to the detriment of the majority".
    If the law would help the majority, I would have expected "operated to the benefit of the majority".
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The definition given does agree with that of the Oxford English Dictionary Pro version online, which has the following:
    prejudice

    4 a. Harm, detriment, or injury to a person or thing resulting from a judgement or action, esp. one in which a person's rights are disregarded; resulting injury. Now chiefly in phrases.

    in prejudice of: to the (intended or consequent) detriment or injury of.
    to the prejudice of: with resulting harm to.
    without prejudice: without detriment to any existing right or claim; (Law) without any damage to one's own rights or claims
    Of course, it is only one meaning of the word 'prejudice', which is used also in other senses.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    When I first saw that statement, I remembered hearing something such as "..built to a standard", and likewise thought that statement talked about a law that operated improperly as a result of common prejudice.
    That idea might be expressed by saying that a law operated in conformity to the prejudice of the majority.
    That could describe, for example, the operation of electoral laws in southern states of the US in past times.

    A different case, equally real, would be laws written in conformity to the prejudice of the majority: one more manifestation of man's inhumanity to man.
     
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