gerrymander

noun
ger·​ry·​man·​der | \ ˈjer-ē-ˌman-dər How to pronounce gerrymander (audio) also ˈger-; originally ˈger- How to pronounce gerrymander (audio) \

Definition of gerrymander

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or method of gerrymandering
2 : a district or pattern of districts varying greatly in size or population as a result of gerrymandering three new gerrymanders

gerrymander

verb
gerrymandered; gerrymandering\ ˈjer-​ē-​ˌman-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce gerrymandering (audio) also  ˈger-​ ; originally  ˈger-​ \; gerrymanders

Definition of gerrymander (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to divide or arrange (a territorial unit) into election districts in a way that gives one political party an unfair advantage : to subject to gerrymandering The government gerrymandered urban districts to create rural majorities.— Matthew Reiss
2 : to divide or arrange (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group gerrymander a school district

Examples of gerrymander in a Sentence

Verb gerrymandering urban districts to give rural voters a majority
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the voters who sued over the 2016 map said the new boundaries were still unlawful partisan gerrymanders that violated the state constitution. Washington Post, "Judges: New North Carolina Congress map will be used in 2020," 3 Dec. 2019 In September, a court ruled the state legislative maps were partisan gerrymanders and demanded that the legislature redraw them. NBC News, "In blow to North Carolina Democrats, court rules new GOP-drawn voting maps can be used for 2020," 2 Dec. 2019 The rulings come as courts have become increasingly focused on the issue of extreme partisan gerrymanders — maps that effectively doom political opponents to permanent underrepresentation. The New York Times, New York Times, "A Flurry of Courts Have Ruled on Election Maps. Here’s What They’ve Said.," 29 Jan. 2018 It cannot be overcome by getting rid of the filibuster or racist gerrymanders—neither of which have any basis in the Constitution—though both of these reforms would help. Corey Robin, The New York Review of Books, "The Tyranny of the Minority, from Iowa Caucus to Electoral College," 21 Feb. 2020 The Legislature designed the current maps in 2016 after a court declared the previous set, implemented in 2011, an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Jane C. Timm, NBC News, "Gerrymandering fallout: GOP House seats at risk in N. Carolina when new maps are drawn," 3 Nov. 2019 So did Republican leaders in North Carolina’s State Legislature, who hired Mr. Hofeller in 2011 and 2017 to draw the maps that the state court on Tuesday struck down as a blatantly unconstitutional gerrymander. Michael Wines, New York Times, "The Battle Over the Files of a Gerrymandering Mastermind," 4 Sep. 2019 Common Cause, a government watchdog group, argued the map was a partisan gerrymander designed to keep Republicans in power. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Daughter of deceased GOP redistricting expert releases trove of documents," 6 Jan. 2020 The ruling is a blow to Democrats, who argued the map, passed along party lines by state lawmakers in November, was just another partisan gerrymander and an outside expert was needed to ensure fair voting maps. NBC News, "In blow to North Carolina Democrats, court rules new GOP-drawn voting maps can be used for 2020," 2 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Whichever party controls state legislatures after that vote will be in a prime position to gerrymander electoral districts in their favor and lock in political power for years to come. David G. Savage, latimes.com, "Partisan gerrymandering is upheld by Supreme Court," 27 June 2019 Neutral election monitors are muzzled; opposition candidates locked up; districts gerrymandered; constitutions altered; and, in extreme cases, legislatures emasculated. The Economist, "Lessons from the rise of strongmen in weak states," 14 June 2018 Despite voicing concerns about the dangers to democracy posed by gerrymandering in two redistricting hearings, Justice Kavanaugh anchored a 5-4 majority in Rucho v Common Cause to preserve extreme gerrymandering from constitutional objections. The Economist, "The Supreme Court wraps up its term, inching to the right," 4 July 2019 Both cases essentially laid out a three-part test for gerrymandering: partisan intent, partisan effect, and lack of neutral reason for the map. Jonathan Lai, Philly.com, "How the U.S. Supreme Court's partisan gerrymandering non-decisions affect Pa.," 18 June 2018 Though Republicans have thin majorities in a few states, like Colorado and Minnesota, the party is entrenched by gerrymandering across most of the Midwest and has long controlled Sun Belt prizes like Florida and Arizona. Alexander Burns And Alan Blinder, New York Times, "‘They Can’t Wait to Vote’: Energized Democrats Target Dominant G.O.P. in Statehouses," 3 Feb. 2018 The state legislature is so heavily gerrymandered that Republicans can win just under 50 percent of the vote and capture nearly two-thirds of the legislative seats. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Republican Plot Against Voting Turns Deadly," 5 Apr. 2020 First, the White House has hired Diane to argue a case about gerrymandering in Illinois before the Supreme Court, and Elizabeth Warren and Merrick Garland are now judges. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "The Good Fight premiere recap: The gang deals with Hillary Clinton as president," 9 Apr. 2020 But gerrymandering in the Old Dominion is not dead yet. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, "Some Virginia Democrats want to hit the brakes on nonpartisan redistricting plan," 29 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gerrymander.' 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 gerrymander

Noun

1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gerrymander

Noun

Elbridge gerry + salamander; from the shape of an election district formed during Gerry's governorship of Massachusetts

Verb

derivative of gerrrymander entry 1

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Time Traveler for gerrymander

Time Traveler

The first known use of gerrymander was in 1812

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Statistics for gerrymander

Last Updated

27 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gerrymander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gerrymander. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for gerrymander

gerrymander

verb

English Language Learners Definition of gerrymander

: to divide (a state, school district, etc.) into political units that give one group an unfair advantage

gerrymander

noun
ger·​ry·​man·​der | \ ˈjer-ē-ˌman-dər also and originally ˈger-ē- How to pronounce gerrymander (audio) \

Legal Definition of gerrymander

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or method of gerrymandering
2 : a district or pattern of districts varying greatly in size or population as a result of gerrymandering

gerrymander

transitive verb
gerrymandered; gerrymandering

Legal Definition of gerrymander (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to divide (a territorial unit) into election districts to give one political party an electoral majority in a large number of districts while concentrating the voting strength of the opposition in as few districts as possible
2 : to divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group gerrymander a school district

History and Etymology for gerrymander

Noun

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814) + salamander; from the shape of an election district formed during Gerry's governorship of Massachusetts

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