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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 trains Springfield (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

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 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



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

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