gerrymander

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

Monday's ruling upheld the challenges in only one instance, declaring House District 90, in the Fort Worth area, to be an impermissible racial gerrymander. NBC News, "Texas GOP gets a win with Supreme Court ruling on alleged racial redistricting," 25 June 2018 But, amazingly enough, Republicans won nine of the state’s 14 congressional districts, reflecting one of the worst pro-GOP gerrymanders in the country. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "7 key governor races that could let Democrats roll back gerrymandering," 5 Nov. 2018 All of this reinforces the argument that judges should keep out of fights over partisan gerrymanders. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Gerrymander Excuse Implodes," 16 Nov. 2018 In short, a partisan Republican power play, retaliation for the gerrymander ruling and a move that (in one fell swoop) thumbs its nose at citizen action, flips the bird to the state high court and pushes the governor out of the way. John Baer, Philly.com, "An iceberg on the voyage to fairer Pa. elections | John Baer," 16 Apr. 2018 The US Supreme Court recently ruled North Carolina’s congressional maps unconstitutional and is currently considering maps in Wisconsin, Texas, and Maryland (a Democratic gerrymander). Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Exclusive: Republicans are outspending Democrats 5 to 1 in key statehouse races," 30 Oct. 2018 In a divided ruling, the state court held that the map was an unlawful partisan gerrymander meant to maximize Republican electoral success. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Court Rulings End GOP Efforts to Block Voting Map for Pennsylvania," 19 Mar. 2018 For 14 years, as partisan gerrymanders across the country grew more extreme, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy came to symbolize hopes that the Supreme Court would eventually rein them in. Michael Wines, New York Times, "Kennedy’s Retirement Could Threaten Efforts to End Partisan Gerrymandering," 30 June 2018 But the same technology also makes gerrymanders more transparent. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin redistricting: Here's what you need to know about imminent Supreme Court ruling," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The judges ordered a new map in June after ruling that lawmakers had racially gerrymandered eleven House districts by packing black voters into them. Denise Lavoie, The Seattle Times, "Court picks Virginia redistricting plan that helps Democrats," 23 Jan. 2019 Legislative districts are heavily gerrymandered, and the government controls the airwaves and media companies to such a degree that the opposition can’t get a fair hearing. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 2018 campaign revealed the true fissure in American democracy," 6 Nov. 2018 The Republican challenge here comes in large part from a redistricting plan imposed by the state’s Supreme Court, which had ruled that prior district lines had been illegally gerrymandered to create a Republican advantage. Aaron Zitner, WSJ, "GOP Works to Rally the Trump Skeptics Within Party," 30 Oct. 2018 For years now, Republicans have been using tools like voter ID laws and gerrymandering to rig the electoral system in their favor by suppressing minority votes and packing minority voters into a handful of districts. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 Trebek also touched on the death penalty, imposing a severance tax on natural gas drilling and gerrymandering congressional districts, while the men jousted over who can better deal with the state’s huge pension debt. Marc Levy, The Seattle Times, "Governor, GOP challenger face off at Trebek-hosted forum," 1 Oct. 2018 Unlike a host of gerrymandering challenges from Democrats in recent years, Wednesday's case is a challenge brought by a group of Republican voters to Maryland's 6th District. CNN, "Gerrymandering back at Supreme Court as midterms near, tensions rise," 28 Mar. 2018 Justice Kennedy was widely seen as the swing vote on gerrymandering in a court divided between liberals, who see the practice as unconstitutional, and conservatives, who regard it as a political problem, not a legal one. Michael Wines, New York Times, "Kennedy’s Retirement Could Threaten Efforts to End Partisan Gerrymandering," 30 June 2018 The long-time congressman has bragged about being helped by gerrymandering in his district, which includes western Hamilton County, a land bridge across the northern part of the county and all of red-leaning Warren County. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: 3 takeaways from Ohio's first major post-Trump era election," 9 May 2018

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 and Verb

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

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for gerrymander

The first known use of gerrymander was in 1812

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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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