1 of 3

noun (1)

par·​ti·​san ˈpär-tə-zən How to pronounce partisan (audio) -sən How to pronounce partisan (audio)
 chiefly British  ˌpär-tə-ˈzan
variants or less commonly partizan
: a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person
especially : one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance
political partisans who see only one side of the problem
: a member of a body of detached light troops making forays and harassing an enemy
Peasant partisans assaulted the French army.
: a member of a guerrilla band operating within enemy lines
Polish partisans had blown up two trainsSpringfield (Massachusetts) Union
ˈpär-tə-zən-lē How to pronounce partisan (audio)
 chiefly British  ˌpär-tə-ˈzan-


2 of 3


: feeling, showing, or deriving from strong and sometimes blind adherence to a particular party, faction, cause, or person : exhibiting, characterized by, or resulting from partisanship
partisan politics
partisan loyalty
Secularism is indeed correlated with greater tolerance of gay marriage and pot legalization. But it's also making America's partisan clashes more brutal.Peter Beinart
The editorial page of the newspaper captured the mood of an America frustrated by partisan division …Joseph Cress
The modern Democratic party may honor the cerebral Jefferson as one of its founders, but the true paternity lies with the fiercely partisan Jackson. He made it a fighting electoral force.Bernard A. Weisberger
: of, carried on by, or being military partisans
partisan fighters
partisan warfare


3 of 3

noun (2)

par·​ti·​san ˈpär-tə-zən How to pronounce partisan (audio)
variants or partizan
: a weapon of the 16th and 17th centuries with long shaft and broad blade

Did you know?

Partisan and Politics

A partisan is someone who supports one part or party. Sometimes the support takes the form of military action, as when guerrilla fighters take on government forces. But partisan is actually most often used as an adjective, usually referring to support of a political party. so if you're accused of being too partisan, or of practicing partisan politics, it means you're mainly interested in boosting your own party and attacking the other one.

Choose the Right Synonym for partisan

follower, adherent, disciple, partisan mean one who gives full loyalty and support to another.

follower may apply to people who attach themselves either to the person or beliefs of another.

an evangelist and his followers

adherent suggests a close and persistent attachment.

adherents to Marxism

disciple implies a devoted allegiance to the teachings of one chosen as a master.

disciples of Gandhi

partisan suggests a zealous often prejudiced attachment.

partisans of the President

Examples of partisan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Breakout star Snoop still entices a mindless constituency through partisan pothead epithets that might even embarrass RINOs on the GOP debate stage. Armond White, National Review, 15 Nov. 2023 Biden has said that law didn’t go far enough, but the partisan split in support for some gun control measures may keep many Republican lawmakers from working on more serious reform. Monica Potts, ABC News, 13 Nov. 2023 It is not supposed to be a partisan event calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2023 San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe is set to become San Diego County’s first Black woman supervisor, and a key Democratic vote on a board that has had an even partisan split for six months. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Nov. 2023 The committee also withstood scathing criticism from Republicans, who accused the committee of executing a partisan, politically motivated attempt to take down Trump. Scott MacFarlane, CBS News, 6 Nov. 2023 The result could also show whether the end of Roe v. Wade is still powering Democrats to the polls. Supreme Court elections in Pennsylvania are partisan affairs, and the Republican candidate is Carolyn Carluccio, President Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 3 Nov. 2023 Legal experts say Gibbons’s suit, which contends that the election board violated her First Amendment right to free political association by removing her for purely partisan reasons, is among the first in the country to make that argument. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2023 But candidates and voters talk about old, familiar debates in a different way as partisan influences rise. Bill Barrow, Fortune, 29 Oct. 2023
Specifically, on Israel, each set of partisans think their candidate would back Israel the right amount. Anthony Salvanto, CBS News, 5 Nov. 2023 Covering the nation’s radioactive politics fairly, honestly, honorably and rigorously — but also aggressively and unflinchingly — without becoming partisans and engaging in performative outrage. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 4 Oct. 2023 The partisans entered ghettos under siege and brought Jews back to the Belarusian forest, where Mr. Bielski had built a community for them. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 13 Aug. 2023 In October, not long after partisans nearly killed Andriy Koshelev, Bilozerkans noticed the ranks of the occupiers thinning. James Verini Paolo Pellegrin, New York Times, 1 Nov. 2023 So micro-events like the Hamas attack of 7 October, no matter how bloody, don't change the overall picture that partisans of each side hold. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 31 Oct. 2023 Despite it all, Netanyahu still has his unyielding partisans, said Israeli pollster Dahlia Scheindlin, who foresees a long-term hardening of far-right sentiment that could favor the prime minister. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2023 Those strikes have involved both long-range drones launched from Ukrainian territory, as well as teams of operatives and partisans working inside Russia, officials said. Isabelle Khurshudyan, Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2023 Universality created an army of partisans, all fighting for better computers. Cory Doctorow, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'partisan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle French partisan, from north Italian dialect partiźan, from part part, party, from Latin part-, pars part

Noun (2)

Middle French partisane, from north Italian dialect partiźana, feminine of partiźan

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1708, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun (2)

1542, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of partisan was in 1542

Dictionary Entries Near partisan

Cite this Entry

“Partisan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a person who is strongly devoted to a particular cause or group
partisan adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on partisan

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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