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 The Alabama Attorney General’s Office disagrees and maintains that creating a second black district would require an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, "Alabama’s federal gerrymandering trial ends," 12 Nov. 2019 When the Republican majority in the state legislature drew the map in 2016 after the Supreme Court found its previous map was illegally gerrymandered along racial lines, legislators announced their updated gerrymander was partisan, not race-based. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "A state court blocks North Carolina’s Republican-friendly map," 30 Oct. 2019 The Supreme Court’s recent decision to stop judges from interfering with partisan political gerrymanders is already looking prescient, as no less than Eric Holder informs us. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Eric Holder’s Judicial Gerrymanders," 7 July 2019 The Alabama Attorney General’s Office disagrees and maintains that creating a second black district would require an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, "Former Alabama Sen. Hank Sanders testifies about racism in gerrymandering case," 6 Nov. 2019 Perhaps one of the clearest and ugliest gerrymanders in North Carolina—or in the entire nation—is the congressional-district line that cuts in half the nation’s largest historically black college, North Carolina A&T State University, in Greensboro. David Daley, The New Yorker, "The Secret Files of the Master of Modern Republican Gerrymandering," 6 Sep. 2019 Federal courts have taken a more robust role, too, striking down gerrymanders in battleground states such as Ohio and Michigan. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "U.S. Supreme Court rejects limits to partisan gerrymandering," 27 June 2019 Doing so, in the case of Texas and Florida, would block some of the worst and most devastating partisan gerrymanders of the next decade. Adam Eichen, The New Republic, "After 48 Years, Democrats Still Haven’t Gotten the Memo," 23 July 2019 DeLay engineered an aggressive gerrymander that created Marchant's district as safe Republican territory. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Kenny Marchant becomes fourth Texas congressman to retire as GOP exodus grows," 5 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When the Republican majority in the state legislature drew the map in 2016 after the Supreme Court found its previous map was illegally gerrymandered along racial lines, legislators announced their updated gerrymander was partisan, not race-based. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "A state court blocks North Carolina’s Republican-friendly map," 30 Oct. 2019 Here’s Pete Williams on what the N.C. gerrymandering court ruling means. NBC News, "The newest testimony in the impeachment probe is a big deal. Here's why.," 29 Oct. 2019 The ruling doesn't apply to districts gerrymandered along racial lines but otherwise gives states wide latitude to draw maps with little concern for an eventual judicial rebuke. CBS News, "Democrats dump millions into statehouse races," 20 Aug. 2019 The ruling doesn't apply to districts gerrymandered along racial lines but otherwise gives states wide latitude to draw maps with little concern for an eventual judicial rebuke. Brian Slodysko, Fortune, "Democrats Are Spending Millions to Try to Take Back Statehouses," 20 Aug. 2019 The ruling doesn’t apply to districts gerrymandered along racial lines but otherwise gives states wide latitude to draw maps with little concern for an eventual judicial rebuke. Brian Slodysko And Paul J. Weber, chicagotribune.com, "Democrats got thumped ahead of redistricting in 2010. Now they’re trying to take back statehouses with Trump on the ticket.," 20 Aug. 2019 Chief Justice Roberts begins by telling us that partisan gerrymandering has been with us since the dawn of the Republic and that the Framers delegated the issue of gerrymandering to the states and to Congress. Guy-uriel E. Charles, Time, "SCOTUS's Ruling on Gerrymandering Endangers US Democracy," 11 July 2019 Ohio’s congressional map is so politically gerrymandered that a new map must be put in place before the next congressional election in 2020, three federal judges hearing a lawsuit involving the map ruled unanimously on Friday. Rich Exner, cleveland, "Court rules gerrymandered Ohio must use new congressional map in 2020: What you need to know," 5 May 2019 Some of the state’s political maps, including at least one drawn by Republicans, were thrown out by the courts, which found them to be racially gerrymandered. Timothy Williams, New York Times, "It’s Not Just the White House in 2020. The Power to Draw Maps Is Also at Stake.," 5 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gerrymander

Time Traveler for gerrymander

Time Traveler

The first known use of gerrymander was in 1812

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gerrymander

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gerrymander.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gerrymander?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=g&file=gerrym02. Accessed 9 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on gerrymander

What made you want to look up gerrymander? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

contradictory or incongruous words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!