A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Bias (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 240

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 240

Bi'as. n.s. [biais, Fr. said to come from bihay, an old Gaulish word, signifying cross, or thwart.]

  1. The weight lodged on one side of a bowl, which turns it from the straight line.

    Madam, we'll play at bowls —
    — 'Twill make me think the world is full of rubs,
    And that my fortune runs against the bias.
    Shakesp. R. II.

  2. Any thing which turns a man to a particular course; or gives the direction to his measures.

                      You have been mistook:
    But nature to her bias drew in that.
    Shakesp. Twelfth Night.

    This is that boasted bias of thy mind,
    By which one way to dulness 'tis inclin'd.
    Dryden's Mackfl.

    Morality influences mens lives, and gives a bias to all their actions. Locke.

    Wit and humour, that expose vice and folly, furnish useful diversions. Raillery, under such regulations, unbends the mind from severer contemplations, without throwing it off from its proper bias. Addison's Freeholder, № 45.

    Thus nature gives us, let it check our pride,
    The virtue nearest to our vice ally'd;
    Reason the bias turns to good or ill.
    Pope's Essay on Man.

  3. Propension; inclination.

    As for the religion of our poet, he seems to have some little bias towards the opinions of Wickliff. Dryd. Fab. Preface.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Dryden, John (788) · Locke, John (269) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Shakespeare's Richard II (40) · Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (36)

Attributes: French (385) · Gaulish (3) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Bias (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 16, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=2488.


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