noun (1)
par·​ti·​san | \ ˈpär-tə-zən How to pronounce partisan (audio) , -sən How to pronounce partisan (audio) , -ˌzan, chiefly British ˌpär-tə-ˈzan \
variants: or less commonly partizan

Definition of partisan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : 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
2a : a member of a body of detached light troops making forays and harassing an enemy Peasant partisans assaulted the French army.
b : a member of a guerrilla band operating within enemy lines Polish partisans had blown up two trainsSpringfield (Massachusetts) Union



Definition of partisan (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : 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
2 : of, carried on by, or being military partisans partisan fighters partisan warfare


noun (2)
par·​ti·​san | \ ˈpär-tə-zən How to pronounce partisan (audio) , -sən \
variants: or partizan

Definition of partisan (Entry 3 of 3)

: a weapon of the 16th and 17th centuries with long shaft and broad blade

Other Words from partisan

Noun (1)

partisanly \ ˈpär-​tə-​zən-​lē How to pronounce partisan (audio) , -​sən-​ , -​ˌzan-​ , chiefly British  ˌpär-​tə-​ˈzan-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for partisan

Noun (1)

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

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.

First Known Use of partisan

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

History and Etymology for partisan

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

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Time Traveler for partisan

Time Traveler

The first known use of partisan was in 1542

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Dictionary Entries Near partisan

parti pris



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Cite this Entry

“Partisan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for partisan


par·​ti·​san | \ ˈpär-tə-zən How to pronounce partisan (audio) , -sən \

Kids Definition of partisan

: a person who strongly supports something or someone I'm a partisan of the governor.

Other Words from partisan

partisanship \ -​ˌship \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on partisan

Nglish: Translation of partisan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of partisan for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about partisan


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