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

The Supreme Court disagreed, and ruled that two of North Carolina’s House districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Court Orders North Carolina to Draw Less GOP-Biased Districts," 10 Jan. 2018 Already pending before the justices is a ruling from a special federal court in North Carolina, which found that state’s congressional map an unconstitutional gerrymander drawn by majority Republicans to disenfranchise Democrats. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Maryland to Appeal Gerrymandering Ruling, Setting Up New Supreme Court Battle," 15 Nov. 2018 The stakes in Bucks County — already a perennial battleground — grew a few months ago, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the congressional map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Andrew Seidman, Philly.com, "Fearing Democratic wave in suburbs, GOP seeks to hold line in Bucks' First District," 17 May 2018 In 2016, North Carolina Republicans tried to defend a gerrymander that neutered the state’s black vote by arguing that it wasn’t targeted along racial lines, but rather partisan ones. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that the state’s maps were a Republican gerrymander and ordered new ones to be drawn. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Exclusive: Republicans are outspending Democrats 5 to 1 in key statehouse races," 30 Oct. 2018 All three partisan gerrymander lawsuits potentially could return to the high court in the next year or two. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Supreme Court Upholds Texas District Maps Previously Ruled Discriminatory," 25 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many experts, including me, had hoped the Supreme Court would declare a standard for finding districts had been unconstitutionally gerrymandered for partisan advantage that looked at effects statewide. Bernard Grofman, Washington Post, "This might be the way to prove partisan gerrymandering, according to the new Supreme Court standard," 9 July 2018 The 11 districts that were found to be gerrymandered were mostly in the Richmond and Hampton Roads area. Denise Lavoie, The Seattle Times, "Court picks Virginia redistricting plan that helps Democrats," 23 Jan. 2019 Now Sewell is afraid of history repeating itself across the United States, in the form of restrictive voter ID laws and gerrymandering districts to target minority voters and dilute the power of their vote. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "The fight for voting rights is personal for Rep. Terri Sewell," 11 Dec. 2018 November outlook: No congressional race is viewed as competitive in Maryland, but a pending Supreme Court case on gerrymandering districts in favor of Democrats could change the map here. Adam Levy, CNN, "What you need to know right now about the 2018 midterm elections," 20 Mar. 2018 New congressional district maps replacing Republican-drawn 2011 maps that are ranked among America’s most gerrymandered would mean actual political reform. John Baer, Philly.com, "About that court ruling that could change the face of Pennsylvania politics | John Baer," 23 Jan. 2018 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

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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Statistics for gerrymander

Last Updated

14 May 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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