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[pahr-tish-uh n, per-] /pɑrˈtɪʃ ən, pər-/
a division into or distribution in portions or shares.
a separation, as of two or more things.
something that separates or divides.
a part, division, or section.
an interior wall or barrier dividing a room, area of a building, enclosure, etc., into separate areas.
a septum or dissepiment, as in a plant or animal structure.
Law. a division of property among joint owners or tenants in common or a sale of such property followed by a division of the proceeds.
Logic. the separation of a whole into its integrant parts.
  1. a mode of separating a positive whole number into a sum of positive whole numbers.
  2. the decomposition of a set into disjoint subsets whose union is the original set:
    A partition of the set (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) is the collection of subsets (1), (2, 3), (4), and (5).
Rhetoric. (in a speech organized on classical principles) the second, usually brief section or part in which a speaker announces the chief lines of thought to be discussed in support of his or her theme.
verb (used with object)
to divide into parts or portions.
to divide or separate by interior walls, barriers, or the like (sometimes followed by off):
to partition off a dormitory into cubicles.
to divide (a country or territory) into separate, usually differing political entities.
Compare Balkanize.
Law. to divide property among several owners, either in specie or by sale and division of the proceeds.
Origin of partition
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin partītiōn- (stem of partītiō) division, equivalent to partīt(us) past participle of partīrī to divide (see party) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
partitionable, adjective
partitionary, adjective
partitioner, partitionist, noun
partitionment, noun
prepartition, noun, verb (used with object)
subpartition, noun
subpartitioned, adjective
subpartitionment, noun
unpartitioned, adjective
11. portion, apportion.
2. unity. 11. unite.
Synonym Study
1. See division. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for partition
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here is the partition at my ear down in the deep on the lee side.

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
  • There was complete silence on the other side of the partition.

    Father Sergius Leo Tolstoy
  • All this time he stood on the other side of the partition and prayed.

    Father Sergius Leo Tolstoy
  • However, one evening in January she knocked with both her fists against the partition.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • I would have shot you that day through the partition, but unfortunately you were not there.

British Dictionary definitions for partition


a division into parts; separation
something that separates, such as a large screen dividing a room in two
a part or share
a division of a country into two or more separate nations
(property law) a division of property, esp realty, among joint owners
(maths) any of the ways by which an integer can be expressed as a sum of integers
(logic, maths)
  1. the division of a class into a number of disjoint and exhaustive subclasses
  2. such a set of subclasses
(biology) a structure that divides or separates
(rhetoric) the second part of a speech where the chief lines of thought are announced
verb (transitive)
(often foll by off) to separate or apportion into sections: to partition a room off with a large screen
to divide (a country) into two or more separate nations
(property law) to divide (property, esp realty) among joint owners, by dividing either the property itself or the proceeds of sale
Derived Forms
partitioner, partitionist, noun
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from Latin partītiō, from partīre to divide
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for partition

early 15c., "division into shares, distinction," from Old French particion (12c.), from Latin partitionem (nominative partitio) "a sharing, division, partition, distribution; method of dividing," from past participle stem of partire "to part" (see part (v.)). Sense of "that which separates" first recorded late 15c.


1741, from partition (n.). Related: Partitioned; partitioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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partition in Medicine

partition par·ti·tion (pär-tĭsh'ən)

  1. The act or process of dividing something into parts.

  2. The state of being so divided.

  3. A wall, septum, or other separating membrane in an organism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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partition in Culture

partition definition

A division of a nation or territory into two or more nations. Cyprus, Germany, India, Ireland, Korea, Palestine, and Vietnam are notable examples of countries that have undergone partition.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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