vocabulary word of the week (4)


In law school we read certain kinds of cases where the plaintiff needed to prove invidious discrimination. Apparently, in such cases, regular discrimination was not enough to get you relief from a court under artfully drafted nondiscrimination laws. After all, de minimis non curat lex (the law does not concern itself with trifles).

Here’s what invidious means, in general usage:

Here’s a reminder not to rely on the number one google hit for solid information. Opening that page informs us that in the law invidious has many synonyms:

  • abominable
  • calculated to provoke resentment
  • disagreeable
  • disliked
  • disobliging
  • harmful
  • hateful
  • hurtful
  • injurious
  • invidiosus
  • irksome
  • likely to excite ill will
  • loathsome
  • malicious
  • objectionable
  • obnoxious
  • odious
  • offensive
  • plaguesome
  • rancorous
  • spiteful
  • troublesome
  • unacceptable
  • unaccommodating
  • ungracious
  • unkind
  • unpleasant
  • unwelcome
  • vexatious Associated Concepts: invidious discrimination

Not very useful, not to mention that no actual definition is attempted. Invidiosus [1],Your Honor?

Here is a more useful entry, two or three tics down the screen:

Invidious Discrimination is treating a class of persons unequally in a manner that is malicious, hostile, or damaging. If there is rational justification for the different treatment, then the discrimination is not invidious.

The criteria delineating the groups, such as gender, race, or class, determine the kind of discrimination.

Invidious discrimination generally refers to treating one group of people less well than another on such grounds as their race (racism), gender (sexism), religion (religious discrimination), caste, ethnic background, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, sexual preference or behavior, results of IQ testing, age (ageism) or political views. Discrimination on the basis of such grounds as subcultural preference (Punks, Hippies, Mods, vs. Rockers) is also common.

The effects of invidious discrimination span the spectrum from mild, such as slow or unhelpful retail service, through racial and ethnic slurs, denial of employment or housing, to hate crimes and genocide.


[1] Country of origin: United States Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota Status: Active Formed in: 2006 Genre: Death Metal Lyrical themes: Depression, Anxiety, Dystopia …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s