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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-


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: 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


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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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Some scientists and legislators might have hoped this morning’s U.S. congressional hearing on the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic would move beyond partisan politics and seriously investigate what has become a deeply divisive debate. Byjon Cohen,, 8 Mar. 2023 Trump has denied wrongdoing and has derided the lawsuit as part of a partisan witch hunt. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 6 Mar. 2023 The medical skeptics were rising above partisan politics, getting every fact right, winning every argument, and still losing the war. Matthew Hongoltz-hetling, The New Republic, 28 Feb. 2023 Trump calls the investigation a partisan witch hunt. Harold Maass, The Week, 14 Feb. 2023 Other Pervuvian residents of California suggest that their homeland’s problems go far beyond partisan politics. Los Angeles Times, 10 Feb. 2023 For his part, Mr. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and chalked up the scrutiny to a partisan witch hunt against him. Hurubie Meko, New York Times, 30 Jan. 2023 Some of those Willis has called as witnesses have claimed she is guided more by partisan politics and a desire to be in the spotlight than a sense of justice. Ann E. Marimow, Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2023 Evbagharu also said these Republican challenges play into partisan politics and Qanon conspiracy theories. Kennedy Sessions, Chron, 6 Jan. 2023
This is not to say that being a committed partisan and consistently voting Democratic or Republican is somehow anti-American. Thomas Koenig, National Review, 24 July 2021 His statement referenced her tone as a partisan, including on Twitter. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 23 Feb. 2021 Still, DeSantis is taking care not to seem like a naked partisan. Philip Elliott, Time, 28 Sep. 2022 And the key institutions of the system now seem to serve increasingly as venues for vicious partisan ... Yuval Levin, National Review, 16 Sep. 2022 As a journalistic stance, neutrality is worthless, and usually spurious, because everyone is a partisan of some kind. George Packer, The Atlantic, 6 Sep. 2022 Her grandfather was a Ukrainian partisan who, after World War II, was held in a Soviet prison camp. Dallas News, 15 Mar. 2022 But the comparison is unfair to McCain, who was a loyal partisan most of the time and only occasionally caused problems for his caucus. Damon Linker, The Week, 27 Oct. 2021 An aggressive pro-Trump partisan like Bannon may also welcome the chance to turn the legal battle into a political cause célèbre. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 19 Oct. 2021 See More

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

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 21 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

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