fac·​tion | \ ˈfak-shən How to pronounce faction (audio) \

Definition of faction

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a party or group (as within a government) that is often contentious or self-seeking : clique The committee soon split into factions.
2 : party spirit especially when marked by dissension faction, or the irreconcilable conflict of parties— Ernest Barker

Definition of -faction (Entry 2 of 2)

: making : -fication petrifaction

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Other Words from faction


factional \ ˈfak-​shnəl How to pronounce factional (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
factionalism \ ˈfak-​shnə-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce factionalism (audio) , -​shə-​nə-​ˌliz-​ \ noun
factionally \ ˈfak-​shnəl-​ē How to pronounce factionally (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Synonyms for faction

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of faction in a Sentence

Noun The committee soon split into factions. several factions within the environmental movement have joined forces to save this wilderness area
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet time and time again, an assertive pro-family agenda has been watered down — if not silently sabotaged — by the pro-business faction within the president’s own party and administration. Samuel Hammond, National Review, "Family-Forward Conservatism Could Be the Future," 18 Dec. 2019 Mr Tuong, the academic, argues that a conservative faction within the ruling Communist Party does not wish to offend its Chinese counterpart. The Economist, "Red card The Vietnamese football club that defies China," 12 Dec. 2019 Aside from reports of disorganization and warring factions within her campaign, Harris has proven unable to sustain her initial popularity, especially in California. Sam Metz, USA TODAY, "Sen. Kamala Harris has ended her bid for president. Here's how California factored into her rise and fall," 4 Dec. 2019 Balancing a White House eager to push major changes with the reality on the ground is a constant challenge for the agency, and factions within the White House often cause friction on immigration. BostonGlobe.com, "When a reporter asked Trump directly whether Wolf was to be the next DHS secretary, the president responded, ‘‘He’s acting, and we’ll see what happens.’’," 3 Nov. 2019 The DNC’s refusal to look in the mirror at their own culpability in 2016 and ignoring all the factions within the party is akin to Lincoln ignoring slavery. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: There will be real benefits of a climate battle; Unions (and their money) oppose school choice; The truth about electability (10/21/19)," 21 Oct. 2019 Security officials are particularly concerned that the ‘new right’ — groups that include factions within the Alternative for Germany party which entered the federal parliament two years ago — are providing the intellectual fodder for extremists. San Diego Union-Tribune, "German security services want more powers to fight extremism," 15 Oct. 2019 The short agreement contained very little of substance beyond a commitment to negotiations and was widely perceived as the work of a small faction within the NNC. Alex Waterman, Quartz India, "Revoking Kashmir’s autonomy may derail efforts to end insurgency in India’s northeast," 17 Sep. 2019 Instead, factions within the coalition took arms against each other, killing dozens and threatening the alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Sarah El Sirgany, CNN, "Yemen's civil war within a civil war," 12 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'faction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of faction


1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for faction


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French faccion, borrowed from Latin factiōn-, factiō "act of making, social set, band, group, self-seeking political group," from facere "to make, bring about, place, classify" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at fact

Note: A doublet of faction is fashion entry 1, from the Gallo-Romance outcome of Latin factiō, which maintains only the meaning "act of making," sparsely attested outside of early Latin except in legal use.

Noun combining form

borrowed from Latin -factiōn-, -factiō (as in satisfactiōn-, satisfactiō satisfaction)

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Time Traveler for faction

Time Traveler

The first known use of faction was in 1509

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Statistics for faction

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Faction.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faction. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for faction


How to pronounce -faction (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of faction

: a group within a larger group that has different ideas and opinions than the rest of the group

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