[ 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use gerrymander in a sentence

  • This opens the way, of course, to a good deal of what in America would be known as official 'gerrymandering.'

    France and the Republic | William Henry Hurlbert
  • For contemporary allusions to this first example of gerrymandering, see Writings of Washington, ix.

    Patrick Henry | Moses Coit Tyler
  • He proceeded to enlarge upon his plan for gerrymandering the state—to the advantage of the Democratic party, of course.

    A Spoil of Office | Hamlin Garland
  • For a naked, avowed plan of gerrymandering no Government surely ever did beat this one.

    My Own Story | Emmeline Pankhurst
  • The once famous phrase, Gerrymandering, some of our readers may remember.

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.