adjective par·tial \ ˈpär-shəl \
Updated on: 8 Jan 2018

Definition of partial

1 : of or relating to a part rather than the whole : not general or total
  • a partial solution
  • a partial payment
2 : inclined to favor one party more than the other : biased
  • it is inconsistent with justice to be partial
  • —J. S. Mill
3 : markedly fond of someone or something used with to
  • partial to pizza
  • She's partial to tall men with blond hair.

Examples of partial in a Sentence

  1. These plants prefer full sun or partial shade.

  2. The partial ban on immigration has been lifted.

  3. His latest play was deemed only a partial success by the critics.

  4. a partial eclipse of the sun

  5. He wears a partial denture.

  6. She suggested a partial solution to the problem.

  7. A referee must not be partial toward either team.

Recent Examples of partial from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'partial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of partial

Middle English parcial, from Late Latin partialis, from Latin part-, pars part




Definition of partial

: overtone 1a

Origin and Etymology of partial

PARTIAL Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of partial for English Language Learners

  • : not complete or total

  • : tending to treat one person, group, or thing better than another

PARTIAL Defined for Kids


adjective par·tial \ ˈpär-shəl \

Definition of partial for Students

1 : not complete
  • a partial success
  • a partial eclipse
2 : favoring one side of a question over another
  • I'm too partial to be a fair judge.
3 : fond or too fond of someone or something
  • Grandma is partial to ice cream sodas.


\ˈpär-shə-lē\ adverb

Word Root of partial

The Latin word pars, meaning “part,” and its form partis give us the root part. Words from the Latin pars have something to do with a part, section, or portion. To participate is to take part in some activity. Anything partial involves only part of something. A particle is a tiny bit or portion of something. It is easy to see that part itself also comes directly from pars in both form and meaning.

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something that impedes or restrains

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