Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fervent, sometimes militant supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.
  • n. A member of an organized body of fighters who attack or harass an enemy, especially within occupied territory; a guerrilla.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a partisan or partisans.
  • adj. Devoted to or biased in support of a party, group, or cause: partisan politics.
  • n. A weapon having a blade with lateral projections mounted on the end of a long shaft, used chiefly in the 16th and 17th centuries.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An adherent to a party or faction.
  • n. A fervent, sometimes militant, supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.
  • n. A guerilla fighter; a member of detached light troops acting behind enemy lines.
  • n. The commander of a body of detached light troops engaged in making forays and harassing an enemy.
  • adj. Serving as commander or member of a body of detached light troops: as, a partisan officer or corps.
  • adj. Adherent to a party or faction; especially, having the character of blind, passionate, or unreasonable adherence to a party; as, blinded by partisan zeal.
  • adj. Devoted to or biased in support of a party, group, or cause: partisan politics.
  • n. A spear with a triangular, double-edged blade.
  • n. A soldier armed with such a weapon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Adherent to a party or faction; especially, having the character of blind, passionate, or unreasonable adherence to a party.
  • adj. Serving as a partisan in a detached command.
  • n. An adherent to a party or faction; esp., one who is strongly and passionately devoted to a party or an interest.
  • n.
  • n. The commander of a body of detached light troops engaged in making forays and harassing an enemy.
  • n. Any member of such a corps.
  • n. A kind of halberd or pike; also, a truncheon; a staff.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • See partizan, partizan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a pike with a long tapering double-edged blade with lateral projections; 16th and 17th centuries
  • n. an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of some person or activity
  • adj. devoted to a cause or party
  • n. a fervent and even militant proponent of something

Etymologies

French, from Old French, from Old Italian dialectal partisano, variant of Old Italian partigiano, from parte, part, from Latin pars, part-; see part.
French partizane, from Italian dialectal *(arma) partisana, partisan (weapon), feminine sing. of partisano, supporter; see partisan1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French partisan, from Italian partigiano ("defender of a party"), from parte ("part"). English from the mid-16th century. The sense of "guerilla fighter" is from c. 1690. The adjective in the military sense dates from the early 18th century, in the political sense since 1842. (Wiktionary)
From Middle French partizaine, partisanne et al., from Italian partigiana, related to Etymology 1, above (apparently because it was seen as a typical weapon of such forces). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Jeremy: I wouldn't use the term partisan hack after what you just wrote.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • "I also think you can use the term partisan when it comes to style, how you express yourself and how you communicate in the public square."

    RockyMountainNews.com

  • The defining characteristic of a partisan is the inability to apply the same standards to oneself as one does to the opposition.

    Matthew Yglesias » Conservatives’ Unhinged Attacks on Nancy Pelosi

  • In doing so, it bashed Fox News and MSNBC for what it described as their partisan leanings:

    Boston Globe: CNN Critics Should 'Back Off'

  • Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, who is the main sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said he was disappointed by what he called the partisan nature of the debate.

    House approves DREAM Act, but passage unlikely in Senate

  • In remarks at the start of a wide-ranging press conference, Obama again blamed Republicans for blocking his economic platform for what he calls partisan reasons.

    Obama pushes for passage of small-business incentives

  • In his opening statement at the wide-ranging news conference, Obama announced Goolsbee's appointment and again blamed Republicans for blocking his economic platform for what he calls partisan reasons.

    Obama names Goolsbee to head economic council

  • Some stories we're working on right now here in THE SITUATION ROOM: more finger-pointing in Alaska, as five fellow Republicans go to court to try to stop what they call the partisan witch-hunt of Governor Palin.

    CNN Transcript Sep 16, 2008

  • What they're telling us is that there were a number of people, roughly a dozen who were feeling that they could vote yes but were upset by the partisan tone, what they call the partisan tone of the debate, the way the Democrats have been describing this in public and they weren't sure they could bring them along, and because they say Pelosi got partisan.

    CNN Transcript Sep 29, 2008

  • What they're telling us is that there were a number of people, roughly a dozen who were feeling that they could vote yes but were upset by the partisan tone, what they called the partisan tone of the debate, the way the Democrats have been describing this in public and weren't sure they could bring them along.

    CNN Transcript Sep 29, 2008

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Comments

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  • I wrote as an enthusiast and a partisan—and with, it now seems to me, a certain naiveté.

    Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation and Other Essays

    November 19, 2011