9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pahr-shuh l] /ˈpɑr ʃəl/
being such in part only; not total or general; incomplete:
partial blindness; a partial payment of a debt.
biased or prejudiced in favor of a person, group, side, etc., over another, as in a controversy:
a partial witness.
pertaining to or affecting a part.
being a part; component; constituent.
Botany. secondary or subordinate:
a partial umbel.
Bridge. part-score.
Acoustics, Music. partial tone.
partial to, having a liking or preference for; particularly fond of:
I'm partial to chocolate cake.
Origin of partial
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English parcial biased, particular < Middle French < Late Latin partiālis pertaining to a part, equivalent to Latin parti- (stem of pars) part + -ālis -al1
Related forms
partially, adverb
partialness, noun
nonpartial, adjective
nonpartially, adverb
overpartial, adjective
overpartially, adverb
overpartialness, noun
Can be confused
partially, partly.
1. unfinished, imperfect, limited. 2. one-sided, unfair, unjust.
1, 3. complete. 2. unbiased, fair. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for partial
  • partial knee replacement surgery involves removing damaged cartilage and bone in the knee joint.
  • Students submit partial solutions for partial credit.
  • People near it see a partial solar eclipse in which not all of the sun is blotted out.
  • The remains include two partial skeletons, one of which preserves a largely complete skull, shown here.
  • Most ornamental asparagus look greenest in partial shade but thrive in sun in cool summer climates.
  • Now, he's working on algorithms that will identify likely matches for his images and for partial foot prints.
  • Subtotal or partial thyroidectomy removes part of the thyroid gland.
  • While many king penguins and other penguins can have feather-coloring mutations, usually, the variations are partial.
  • One of the four people known to have received a partial face transplant has died, according to published reports.
  • The same can be said of similar partial vertebrae found from the same span of time throughout the southwest.
British Dictionary definitions for partial


relating to only a part; not general or complete: a partial eclipse
biased: a partial judge
(postpositive) foll by to. having a particular liking (for)
  1. constituting part of a larger structure: a partial umbel
  2. used for only part of the life cycle of a plant: a partial habitat
  3. (of a parasite) not exclusively parasitic
(maths) designating or relating to an operation in which only one of a set of independent variables is considered at a time
(music, acoustics) Also called partial tone. any of the component tones of a single musical sound, including both those that belong to the harmonic series of the sound and those that do not
(maths) a partial derivative
Derived Forms
partially, adverb
partialness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French parcial, from Late Latin partiālis incomplete, from Latin parspart
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 partial

early 15c., "one-sided, biased," from Old French parcial (14c., Modern French partial), from Medieval Latin partialis "divisible, solitary, partial," from Latin pars (genitive partis) "part" (see part (n.)). Sense of "not whole, incomplete" is attested from late 14c. Related: Partially (mid-15c. as "incompletely").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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