Definition of gerrymander in US English:



[with object]often as noun gerrymandering
  • 1Manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

    • ‘Texas political operatives pointed out that five Democratic representatives are fighting for their lives in new districts gerrymandered by the GOP.’
    • ‘States using an independent approach produced more than twice as many competitive races for state legislatures than did gerrymandered states.’
    • ‘The rich and powerful in this country manipulate elections, and gerrymander voting districts.’
    • ‘Politicians have come to see manipulation of the vote much as they see gerrymandering boundaries of voting districts - all part of the electoral game.’
    • ‘Mercifully, the official exhibition was not gerrymandered into national sections or pretentiously titled thematic subdivisions.’
    • ‘There has been a lot of gerrymandering of the constituency boundaries.’
    • ‘The only reason U.S. Senate seats stayed competitive is that the politicians cannot gerrymander state lines.’
    • ‘In the last elections, the ruling family shamelessly gerrymandered electoral districts to dilute the Shia vote.’
    • ‘A way should be found to create an upper house, and to so gerrymander the provinces that it over-represents the Sunni minority.’
    • ‘Another issue that has caused problems between Congress and the White House has been gerrymandering and the mal-apportionment of Congressional constituencies.’
    • ‘We will cut any tax, grease any campaign contributor and gerrymander any state to advance the cause of a Republican congressional majority.’
    • ‘If anything, it reinforced perceptions that the board and the ANC were simply gerrymandering provincial boundaries to suit short-term political ends.’
    • ‘When a newspaper company owns a cluster, it will likely gerrymander circulation areas and eliminate overlapping areas of circulation.’
    • ‘He said the party had impoverished its supporters and predicted that they would turn against the ruling party, no matter how the constituency boundaries were gerrymandered.’
    • ‘With the electoral boundaries gerrymandered in parallel, many nationalist council majorities were wiped out.’
    • ‘Ironically, the Syrians originally gerrymandered the north in 2000 so as to give an advantage to the Sunnis over the Christians.’
    • ‘Republicans dominate the Ohio legislature thanks to a heavily gerrymandered crazy quilt of rigged districts, and to a moribund Ohio Democratic party.’
    • ‘They are not in a position where they can gerrymander constituencies.’
    • ‘I sure wish I could agree with your prediction but America has been gerrymandered into easily predictable red or blue districts.’
    • ‘He gerrymandered electoral districts in order to control the results and sought to regulate the press.’
    manipulate, arrange fraudulently, interfere with, influence, juggle, massage, distort, misrepresent, pervert, manoeuvre, tamper with, tinker with, doctor
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Achieve (a result) by manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency.
      ‘a total freedom to gerrymander the results they want’
      • ‘A gerrymandered election does not make for a democracy.’


  • An instance of gerrymandering.

    • ‘The deliberate sectarian gerrymander that the Northern state was in the first instance has now disappeared, eroded by demographics.’
    • ‘He said the Government's electoral reforms would create a gerrymander, where electoral boundaries are created to give one party an advantage.’
    • ‘There is also the issue of the potential for an institutionalised gerrymander, as recipients of various forms of government transfer payments outnumber those who actually pay any income tax.’
    • ‘In a gerrymander in 1923, Unionists wrested control from Nationalists, an arrangement reinforced in the 1930s.’
    • ‘Despite an electoral gerrymander, the opposition managed to more than double its parliamentary seats from 22 to 45.’
    • ‘Umno continues to benefit from a gerrymander that favours rural Malay seats on peninsular Malaya as well as Sabah and Sarawak in northern Borneo.’
    • ‘This is a government that blatantly indulged in open gerrymander, for example the re-allocation of defence force votes among surrounding marginal seats.’
    • ‘Despite a gerrymander, the number of opposition seats rose from 22 to 45, mostly at the expense of the ruling party.’
    • ‘The Green's control of the council, while significant, was in fact an own goal created by the Labor Party's failed gerrymander.’
    • ‘One of the assumptions many people have of his long time in power was that it was only able to occur because the gerrymander kept Labor out of office.’
    • ‘Nationalist resentment at the gerrymander was amplified by the determination of Unionists to define the centre of the city, enclosed within its plantation walls, as a loyalist public space.’
    • ‘They say the current Congressional map is just an old Democratic gerrymander.’
    • ‘I'm not crazy about the idea of Republicans using redistricting reform to knock off Democrats while ramming through the most outlandish gerrymanders in the states they control.’
    • ‘Wary of democracy, he helped enshrine a rural gerrymander in the Legislative Council of which he was a member 1890-1916.’
    • ‘The Labor Party has thrown one of its basic principles out the window by now supporting the gerrymander in Western Australia.’
    • ‘Labor held office, intermittently, in a number of States, but State election seemed as remote as federal victory - and only partly because of gerrymanders.’
    • ‘It also polls well under 5 per cent and could throw up the closest thing to a gerrymander if the previous election's turnout is repeated.’
    • ‘If you're afraid of what a neutral redistricting will do, just imagine what a genuinely partisan gerrymander could accomplish.’
    • ‘The gerrymander would be even more pronounced with the non-voting stock comprising just 870 million out of 3.1 billion - or just 28.9 per cent of the total.’
    • ‘As Polsby points out, the art of the gerrymander is another instance with respect to which the constitutional order has been turned on its head.’


Early 19th century: from the name of Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts + salamander, from the supposed similarity between a salamander and the shape of a new voting district on a map drawn when he was in office (1812), the creation of which was felt to favor his party; the map (with claws, wings, and fangs added) was published in the Boston Weekly Messenger, with the title The Gerry-Mander.