Share this entry
partial Line breaks: par|tial
Pronunciation: /ˈpɑːʃ(ə)l/

Definition of partial in English:


1Existing only in part; incomplete: a question to which we have only partial answers
More example sentences
  • The project essentially entailed a partial renewal of the existing line with some shortcut additions.
  • Quantitative measurement is necessarily, by its very nature, partial and incomplete.
  • I have a vague sense that dramaturgs may be a partial answer to the director capture problem, but I don't know enough about theatre to say.
incomplete, limited, qualified, restricted, imperfect, fragmentary, unfinished
2Favouring one side in a dispute above the other; biased: the paper gave a distorted and very partial view of the situation
More example sentences
  • It's about separating yourself and your ideas from everyone else's partial biases.
  • How can those who articulate the green case possibly be comfortable with such a curiously unbalanced mix of myths and beliefs, such a partial view of the world?
  • I'm not an expert and I can't say for sure, but I think the UN weapons inspectors took a partial view of biological warfare.
3 (partial to) Having a liking for: you know I’m very partial to bacon and eggs
More example sentences
  • I could afford the best wine by then, and I'd had become very partial to bacon every morning.
  • The wife of a colleague was known to be partial to bacon and banana.
  • Certainly, that touring party was more than partial to a peculiarly Kiwi version of bacon and egg pie.
like, love, enjoy, have a liking for, be fond of, be keen on, have a fondness for, have a weakness for, have a soft spot for, have a taste for, be taken with, care for, have a predilection/proclivity/penchant for, be enamoured of
informal adore, be mad about/on, have a thing about, be crazy about, be potty about, be nutty about
North American informal cotton to, be nutso over/about
Australian/New Zealand informal be shook on


Music Back to top  
A component of a musical sound; an overtone or harmonic: strings would like to oscillate as closely as possible to harmonic partials
More example sentences
  • At once the problem arises that the human voice is composed of many tones: the fundamental tone and a series of other tones called upper harmonics or partials.
  • One unusual aspect of this music is that the rich upper partials of the voices bring out the simple harmonies of the hymns in a way not normally heard.
  • In stringed instruments, additional strings of wire that vibrate in sympathy with a unison note or one of its partials, bowed or plucked on the main strings, adding a shimmer to the sound.




Late Middle English (in sense 2 of the adjective): from Old French parcial (sense 2 of the adjective), French partiel (sense 1 of the adjective), from late Latin partialis, from pars, part- 'part'.

Words that rhyme with partial

court-martial, impartial, marshal, martial
Definition of partial in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources