[ jer-i-man-der, ger- ]
See synonyms for gerrymander on
  1. U.S. Politics. the dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.

verb (used with object)
  1. U.S. Politics. to subject (a state, county, etc.) to a gerrymander.

Origin of gerrymander

1812, Americanism; after E. Gerry (governor of Massachusetts, whose party redistricted the state in 1812) + (sala)mander, from the fancied resemblance of the map of Essex County, Mass., to this animal, after the redistricting

Other words from gerrymander

  • ger·ry·man·der·er, noun

Words Nearby gerrymander Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use gerrymander in a sentence

  • If you don't, I shall give the documents in the gerrymander affair to the papers the day after you fail.

    The Grafters | Francis Lynde
  • It happens every few years that the newspapers are full of more or less excited talk about a "gerrymander."

  • It was entirely a party fight; for, by grace of the last gerrymander, the nomination carried with it the certainty of election.

    The Gentleman From Indiana | Booth Tarkington
  • It is not settled who is entitled to the authorship of the word "gerrymander," for which a number of claimants have appeared.

  • It was from this incident that the word "gerrymander," so often heard in politics in these days, took its name.

    The Greater Republic | Charles Morris

British Dictionary definitions for gerrymander


/ (ˈdʒɛrɪˌmændə) /

  1. to divide the constituencies of (a voting area) so as to give one party an unfair advantage

  2. to manipulate or adapt to one's advantage

  1. an act or result of gerrymandering

Origin of gerrymander

C19: from Elbridge Gerry, US politician + (sala) mander; from the salamander-like outline of an electoral district reshaped (1812) for political purposes while Gerry was governor of Massachusetts

Derived forms of gerrymander

  • gerrymandering, noun

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

Cultural definitions for gerrymander


[ (jer-ee-man-duhr) ]

To change the boundaries of legislative districts to favor one party over another. Typically, the dominant party in a state legislature (which is responsible for drawing the boundaries of congressional districts) will try to concentrate the opposing party's strength in as few districts as possible, while giving itself likely majorities in as many districts as possible.

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