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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

Examples of partisan in a Sentence

Noun (1) partisans of the charismatic leader refuse to tolerate any criticism of him at all a partisan of the revolution who was even willing to give her life for it she's too much of a political partisan to ever concede that the other side might have a valid point Adjective a shamelessly partisan reporter covering the primary campaign
Recent Examples on the Web
The Presidential Race: The political fallout of Trump’s conviction is far from certain, but the verdict will test America’s traditions, legal institutions and ability to hold an election under historic partisan tension. Nicholas Nehamas, New York Times, 1 June 2024 The sorts of voters who pay a lot of attention to politics and public affairs — the people who know who Michael Cohen is and how David Pecker figures into the hush money case — are overwhelmingly the types of people who have strongly partisan views. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2024 The letter by Senate Democrats was the latest in a series of partisan actions targeting the oil industry. Matthew Daly, Fortune, 30 May 2024 Furthermore, this sets a dangerous precedent, as the bar is now incredibly high for making the determination on whether or not a map is racially gerrymandered, as opposed to simply partisan. Rayna Reid Rayford, Essence, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for partisan 

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 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

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