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Definition of Lookism

(noun) Discrimination or prejudice against someone based on their looks (appearance).

Example of Lookism

Lookism Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: look·ism

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈlʊkˌɪzəm/
  • British English – /ˈlʊkɪz(ə)m/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: lookisms

Related Quotation

  • “[F]avoritism for the attractive and discrimination against the unattractive—creates a structure of unequal opportunity, providing unearned advantages to the attractive and disadvantages to the unattractive. While it is often claimed that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’—that the assessment of attractiveness is a highly subjective matter—in fact there are high levels of agreement about attractiveness that are largely unaffected by the ‘beholder’s’ sex, age, or socioeconomic status. There is even substantial cross-cultural agreement” (McNamee and Miller 2013:208).

Additional Information

Related Terms


McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Cite the Definition of Lookism

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “lookism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 24, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/lookism/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

lookism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/lookism/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “lookism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/lookism/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“lookism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 24 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/lookism/>.