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fac·​tion ˈfak-shən How to pronounce faction (audio)
: a party or group (as within a government) that is often contentious or self-seeking : clique
The committee soon split into factions.
: party spirit especially when marked by dissension
faction, or the irreconcilable conflict of partiesErnest Barker
ˈfak-shnəl How to pronounce faction (audio)
ˈfak-shnə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce faction (audio)
ˈfak-shnəl-ē How to pronounce faction (audio)


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noun combining form

: making : -fication

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
Hamas took full control of Gaza in 2007, ousting another Palestinian faction. Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 Many who were guerilla fighters went back to their previous factions and continued battling. Sarah E. Parkinson, Foreign Affairs, 14 Nov. 2023 In the 1990s, Hezbollah adopted a more formal political role in Lebanon and has become a prominent faction in the country's ruling alliance. James Hookway, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2023 That combination fueled conjecture that Cameron would be able to bridge the Republican Party's warring factions. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 7 Nov. 2023 Over the next five weeks, the ship split into warring factions that saw men disappearing at night, crew members tied up and tossed overboard to drown, and engine equipment sabotaged, according to Chinese news reports and court records. Los Angeles Times, 7 Nov. 2023 But some within Nasrallah’s own movement, as well as armed factions around the region, seek to open a new front against Israel. Ellen Francis, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2023 Yet in 2006, Hamas participated in and won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, going on to form a unity government with Fatah, the dominant faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Cole Bunzel, Foreign Affairs, 2 Nov. 2023 Formed in the aftermath of the 1982 Lebanon War, Hezbollah was established as an umbrella group for the country’s disparate Shiite factions. James Hookway, WSJ, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'faction.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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)

First Known Use


1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of faction was in 1509

Dictionary Entries Near faction

Cite this Entry

“Faction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faction. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


fac·​tion ˈfak-shən How to pronounce faction (audio)
: a group acting together within a larger body (as a government) : clique
-shnəl How to pronounce faction (audio)
factionalism noun

More from Merriam-Webster on faction

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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