Definition of invidious in US English:



  • 1(of an action or situation) likely to arouse or incur resentment or anger in others.

    ‘she'd put herself in an invidious position’
    • ‘The new levy would have precisely the same invidious impact on newspapers and the electronic media.’
    • ‘They now face the most invidious dilemma imaginable - and they have only four weeks in which to solve it.’
    • ‘These organizations fall well outside any reading of invidious discrimination and are a prime example of how exclusionary organizations and institutions determine and admit qualified members.’
    • ‘Despite the hullabaloo, and the invidious position into which he has allowed himself to be manoeuvred, it looks as if he will hold on to his job.’
    • ‘These 6,000 teachers are in an invidious situation.’
    • ‘This question seems a valid one, but one should remember that such a stance might put the possessor of the truth in an invidious situation.’
    • ‘The British media is in a bit of an invidious position, in that we've got our editors in London saying, Well, we've got carte blanche, we can print what we like.’
    • ‘The recent longstanding salary dispute, now happily resolved by government action, was unsettling and helped place universities and funding councils in an invidious position.’
    • ‘The chairman is in an invidious position but he did McLeish no favours last week.’
    • ‘Such stressors are potentially invidious not least because people may not experience these as unpleasant or be conscious of their effects.’
    • ‘It is an invidious position: we are part of the European Union and are integrated at many levels, except the crucial financial one.’
    • ‘First-time buyers are in an invidious position these days.’
    • ‘It would be invidious to undertake a half-baked presentation and evidence and half-baked cross examination.’
    • ‘Now we're not surprised at the mayor's invidious juxtaposition since he once famously remarked, when questioned about his tax increase's impact on local bodegas, ‘It's a minor economic issue.’’
    • ‘The novice manager accepts he finds himself in an invidious position following in the footsteps of a man who could have achieved no more.’
    • ‘Were it to come to trial, it would put the Lords, as judges, in an invidious position, and exposes them to the charge that they are overriding the will of the Commons.’
    • ‘Schumacher is in an invidious position, but as a team player he must take the rough with the smooth.’
    • ‘I find myself in the invidious position of having to go out and ask whoever it is if they would mind waiting five minutes.’
    • ‘It has placed doctors in an invidious position - they knew the risks of injecting their patients with this caustic poison, yet they had no other option.’
    • ‘There is enormous support for these men who have been jailed because they have come across as sincere men who have been put in the most invidious position.’
    unpleasant, awkward, difficult
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    1. 1.1 (of a comparison or distinction) unfairly discriminating; unjust.
      ‘it seems invidious to make special mention of one aspect of his work’
      • ‘The conference also provides a platform for highlighting casteism as a form of invidious discrimination and an international human rights violation.’
      • ‘I have nothing to say about these principles of invidious discrimination.’
      • ‘This applies even more rigorously if the subject of a musical comedy is a musical-comedy or similar performer; that invites invidious comparisons.’
      • ‘I met a lot of people and generalisations are always invidious.’
      • ‘It is indeed awkward to let out the truth about double standards, although it is remarkable that administrators think that students will not make invidious comparisons if the statistics are kept under wraps.’
      • ‘The contributors to this book subject these various options and their implication to critical appraisal, and it would be invidious to pick out some contributions and not others.’
      • ‘The majority found the record weak and anecdotal, refusing to presume a pattern of state invidious discrimination against the disabled, especially when so many states have disability rights statutes.’
      • ‘In reality, of course, all such comparisons are invidious, and the loss of any human being is tragic.’
      • ‘The term brings to mind, rather, the importance of kinship relations in primitive societies, and provokes an invidious comparison to England.’
      • ‘In this small multi-talented cast comparisons are invidious, but Ben Stillman stood out for the remarkable range of his skills and the sharp definition he brought to his characterisations.’
      • ‘The invidious comparison implicit in this idea - or rather the elitism, to give it its contemporary nomme de guerre - has understandably given rise to angry backlashes and counter-revolutions.’
      • ‘England is not best understood by invidious comparison with France.’
      • ‘Not only is the construction different from Stonehenge (thereby avoiding invidious comparison), but it is also a precursor.’
      • ‘Berlinski notes Dembski's extensive academic training, but overlooks Dembski's documented penchant for invidious comparisons.’
      • ‘Not all distinctions are invidious comparisons.’
      • ‘For example, the most invidious acts of discrimination on grounds of sex, race and sexual orientation may result not from individual misconduct, but from ‘taken for granted’ assumptions about what is appropriate.’
      • ‘The rationale behind prohibiting some exercises of discretion is that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects people against invidious discrimination.’
      • ‘Constant anxious attention to her appearance becomes a major part of woman's life, a source of frustration, unflagging investment and invidious comparison.’
      • ‘Though far more subtle than in Skinner, however, the discrimination here is nonetheless invidious - as it so often is when some people in the population identify others as unworthy of parenthood.’
      • ‘There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification.’
      unfair, unjust, prejudicial, discriminatory, iniquitous, weighted, one-sided
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Early 17th century: from Latin invidiosus, from invidia (see envy).