[ pahr-tee ]
See synonyms for: partypartiedpartiespartying on

noun,plural par·ties.
  1. a social gathering, as of invited guests at a private home, for conversation, refreshments, entertainment, etc.: a cocktail party.

  2. a group gathered for a special purpose or task: a fishing party; a search party.

  1. a detachment, squad, or detail of troops assigned to perform some particular mission or service.

  2. a group of persons with common purposes or opinions who support one side of a dispute, question, debate, etc.

  3. a group of persons with common political opinions and purposes organized for gaining political influence and governmental control and for directing government policy: the Republican Party; the Democratic Party.

  4. the system of taking sides on public or political questions or the like.

  5. attachment or devotion to one side or faction; partisanship: to put considerations of party first.

  6. Law.

    • one of the litigants in a legal proceeding; a plaintiff or defendant in a suit.

    • a signatory to a legal instrument.

    • a person participating in or otherwise privy to a crime.

  7. a person or group that participates in some action, affair, plan, etc.; participant: He was a party to the merger deal.

  8. the person under consideration; a specific individual: The package was delivered to the wrong party.

  9. a person or, usually, two or more persons together patronizing a restaurant, attending a social or cultural function, etc.:The headwaiter asked how many were in our party; a party of 12 French physicists touring the labs; a party of one at the small table.

  10. a person participating in a telephone conversation: I have your party on the line.

  11. any occasion or activity likened to a social party, as specified; session: The couple in the next apartment are having their usual dish-throwing party.

  12. something lively, stimulating, or bustling: It’s so delicious, it’s like a party in your mouth.That plastic water bottle is a germ party.

  13. an advantageous or pleasurable situation or combination of circumstances of some duration and often of questionable character; period of content, license, exemption, etc.: The police broke in and suddenly the party was over for the nation's most notorious gunman.

  1. of or relating to a party or faction; partisan: party leaders.

  2. of or for a social gathering: her new party dress.

  1. being shared by or pertaining to two or more persons or things.

  2. Heraldry. (of an escutcheon) having the field divided into a number of parts, usually two; parted.

verb (used without object),par·tied, par·ty·ing.Informal.
  1. to go to or give parties, especially a series of parties.

  2. to enjoy oneself thoroughly and without restraint; indulge in pleasure.

Origin of party

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English partie, paarty, from Old French, noun use of feminine of parti, past participle of partir “to divide, separate, go away,” from Latin partīre “to share, divide”; see part

synonym study For party

1. See company.

usage note For party

Party meaning “a specific individual” is old in the language, going back to the 15th century, and was formerly in common use. Today, it remains standard in limited senses, chiefly the legal, and is often used humorously or condescendingly: the party holding the balloon. The word person is the neutral and common term.

word story For party

English party, with its many senses, comes from Old French partie, whose many meanings include “part, side, portion,” literally, “something that has been divided or separated.” In form, partie is the noun use of the feminine past participle of partir “to leave, go, take off, start” (and many other senses). Partir comes from Latin partīre (also partīrī ), whose relatively few meanings include “to share, distribute, divide, divide up.”
Since the 1300s, party has taken on a number of useful meanings, including “any of the people engaged in a formal legal proceeding,” which dates from the early 14th century. First noted in the 17th century is the sense of “an organized political group or faction” ( the Party, short for "the Communist Party," would show up around 1919). Also dating from the 17th century is the term party wall, “a wall that forms a boundary between areas with different owners,” while the familiar “festive social gathering” sense of party can be traced back to the early 18th century. In the next century, party line emerged (during the 1830s) as a political term meaning “a policy or principle to be maintained,” and later (from the early 1890s) was more commonly used in the now obsolete sense of “a telephone line shared by several subscribers.”

Other words for party

Other words from party

  • par·ty·less, adjective
  • in·ter·par·ty, adjective
  • non·par·ty, adjective, noun, plural non·par·ties.
  • sub·par·ty, noun, plural sub·par·ties.

Words that may be confused with party

  • party , person (see usage note at the current entry) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use party in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for party


/ (ˈpɑːtɪ) /

nounplural -ties
    • a social gathering for pleasure, often held as a celebration

    • (as modifier): party spirit

    • (in combination): partygoer

  1. a group of people associated in some activity: a rescue party

    • (often capital) a group of people organized together to further a common political aim, such as the election of its candidates to public office

    • (as modifier): party politics

  1. the practice of taking sides on public issues

  2. a person, esp one who participates in some activity such as entering into a contract

  3. the person or persons taking part in legal proceedings, such as plaintiff or prosecutor: a party to the action

  4. informal, jocular a person: he's an odd old party

  5. come to the party to take part or become involved

verb-ties, -tying or -tied (intr)
  1. informal to celebrate; revel

  1. heraldry (of a shield) divided vertically into two colours, metals, or furs

Origin of party

C13: from Old French partie part, faction, from Latin partīre to divide; see part

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with party


In addition to the idioms beginning with party

  • party line

also see:

  • life of the party

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.