Definition of partition in US English:



  • 1(especially with reference to a country with separate areas of government) the action or state of dividing or being divided into parts.

    ‘the country's partition into separate states’
    • ‘Their agenda, from the beginning, has been that of partition, of divide and rule.’
    • ‘So he began to move away from such division to reluctant toleration of partition of India.’
    • ‘But he nonetheless urges the extension of partition and provides a rationale for the continued separation of the two states.’
    • ‘By the close of the century, however, exploration had been overtaken by partition, and partition, in turn, by occupation.’
    • ‘The 14 per cent Protestant community in the South at the time of partition was not just abandoned by Britain, it was also cut adrift politically by Northern Unionism.’
    • ‘Significantly but fittingly, that period of partition and decolonisation occupies only the last two chapters for Keay ventures far beyond the traditional anglicised view of the country and its people.’
    • ‘In 1905, the British partitioned Bengal into Muslim and Hindu areas, but the partition lasted only until 1912.’
    • ‘It has been my view for quite some time that it is the force of argument, not the force of arms which will be the final weapon in ending partition and achieving a 32 county democratic socialist republic.’
    • ‘The IRSM argues that the British used partition to divide the Irish working class between Catholic Republicanism and Protestant Loyalism.’
    • ‘Punjab was divided into Indian and Pakistani provinces at the time of partition in 1947.’
    • ‘Doubts had been raised about Mr Hain's involvement with the ‘Time To Go’ movement and comments he made about partition during the 1970's.’
    • ‘In short, one way or another, the politics of secessionism, separatism and partition have only succeeded in entrenching international domination over the entire region.’
    • ‘Family divided at the time of partition finally unites’
    • ‘This requires new ways of thinking about partition and division, re-negotiating the physical traces used to demarcate territorial boundaries.’
    • ‘In 1947 partition divided their homeland and those finding themselves in Pakistan suffered terrible losses making their way to India.’
    • ‘Notice how the two groups that opposed partition most vehemently make one think in hindsight (though only momentarily) that it was perhaps a good decision after all?’
    • ‘In 1846 the British installed a Hindu prince as ruler, and Hindus governed the area until partition of the subcontinent in 1947.’
    • ‘After partition, this region has been divided between India and Pakistan, so geographically indicated rights over Basmati rice belong to India and to Pakistan.’
    • ‘Some examples of partition have been accepted, with the original land being divided between two sets of peoples, this despite the avowed respect for territorial integrity.’
    • ‘Physical partition of land was eclipsed by the tide of emotional separation that soon became a gulf.’
    dividing up, partitioning, separation, division, dividing, subdivision, splitting, splitting up, split-up, breaking up, break-up, parting, segregation, severance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A structure dividing a space into two parts, especially a light interior wall.
      • ‘All of the 275 employees - including the CEO - work in a single, open room roughly the size of a football field: No walls, no partitions, no cubes divide them.’
      • ‘The interior partitions of the original office spaces were removed because they were incompatible with the needed dimensions of residential spaces.’
      • ‘Beneath the propeller shaft are some nice wriggle-through spaces inside double-skinned hull sections where interior partitions have rotted away.’
      • ‘Use interior walls or partitions to redefine the garage space.’
      • ‘For example, use of flexible office partitions in large open spaces can interfere with the air distribution as it was originally designed.’
      • ‘It explained how the driver, the back of his peaked cap just visible below the glass partition which divided us, succeeded in steering such an accurate course with his eyes on a level with the dashboard.’
      • ‘Distribution of natural light through the use of glass walls, low workstation partitions or glass within the workstations is one of the most effective tools available for softening a workspace.’
      • ‘Woodcarvings, bamboo mats, wooden partitions, paintings, wall hangings, brassware, metal icons and pooja articles are also on display, besides ready-to-eat products.’
      • ‘In lieu of insulation in the interior partitions, a surface-mounted fiberboard system on a standard wall can absorb both noise from outside the room and reflections within the room.’
      • ‘A glass partition faces a concrete wall with a cantilevered staircase that leads upward to a sitting area overlooking the roof terrace of the lower, or office, wing.’
      • ‘Cave-like space was disintegrated by awful partitions and dark walls, rather low ceilings depressed me and made me ask myself why it should be so as a building for ferry terminal.’
      • ‘A light rap on the partition wall drew her out of her morose thoughts.’
      • ‘We are brought to a large, refrigerated building, with glass partitions and steel walls behind them.’
      • ‘I followed him into a fluorescently lit corridor of cinderblock walls and wooden partitions, a crude ramp leading to a rough concrete floor.’
      • ‘They function as fencing around a front courtyard, as siding on the house and a small gateway, and as paneling on interior walls and partitions.’
      • ‘Light-colored walls and partitions make spaces feel bright and help distribute light around the space, filling in shadows and making minimum light levels easier to achieve.’
      • ‘Not only will this exhibition be fruitful for those on the lookout for sleek sofa sets and dining tables, for the discernible office-goers there would be interiors with partitions and executive chairs.’
      • ‘Walls, low partitions, and planes are articulated throughout the space with liberty and intention, losing their simple character.’
      • ‘Office walls and interior cubicle partitions are typically transparent or translucent.’
      • ‘Sound masking is critical, but furniture layout, partitions, lighting, carpeting, walls, HVAC and many other factors also play a part.’
      screen, divider, room divider, dividing wall, barrier, wall, fence, panel, separator
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Chemistry The distribution of a solute between two immiscible or slightly miscible solvents in contact with one another, in accordance with its differing solubility in each.
      • ‘Plasma membranes were isolated using the two-phase aqueous polymer partition system.’
      • ‘According to the RNA polymerase partition model two interconvertible populations of RNA polymerase exist in the cell.’
      • ‘Fig. 10 A shows the water-membrane partition equilibrium of the monomer.’
      • ‘Solutes with low water solubility will favour partition into the micelle and will be slow to elute from the CE column.’
      • ‘A dip into the dictionary reveals something about passing a solvent through a semi-permeable partition into a more concentrated solution.’
    3. 1.3Computing Each of a number of portions into which some operating systems divide memory or storage.
      • ‘In 2.4, the situation favors swap partitions over swap files, because the partition can avoid certain memory allocations that swap files require.’
      • ‘One of the main problems is created by the fact that all the computers on the SAN see the same RAID partitions of a storage subsystem.’
      • ‘Whatever was on the original disk, including multiple partitions with various operating systems, will be restored exactly as it was last backed up.’
      • ‘This system has two hard disks with six different operating systems using seven partitions.’
      • ‘This way, you won't corrupt the operating system registries when you install applications, and make it easier to re-install the operating system partitions without affecting your data and other applications.’


[with object]
  • 1Divide into parts.

    ‘an agreement was reached to partition the country’
    • ‘A military force made up of coalition partners would be needed to stop the Afghan capital being partitioned along ethnic lines.’
    • ‘Those and other chemical data partition the Moon into several distinctive chemical provinces.’
    • ‘That same year, the UN voted to partition Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states, a plan the Arabs did not accept because they wanted all of the territory.’
    • ‘We partition the world into various groups, cliques, and worlds.’
    • ‘More and more the division of labour partitioned the family, with Toye assuming total responsibility for the running of the house.’
    • ‘This article discusses several ways in which applications can be intelligently partitioned to make the best use of business rules.’
    • ‘In December, two fledgling nations were conquered or partitioned by their neighbours, while a third [Angola] was invaded by Communist forces from half a world away.’
    • ‘Several computational algorithms have been proposed to partition the genome.’
    • ‘I spent most of my twenties carefully partitioning my life, so that my employment and my family and my sexuality were entirely segregated.’
    • ‘Their objective is to partition Macedonia, breaking off a chunk of territory on its western border as an Albanian enclave that would join with Kosovo and Albania.’
    • ‘These statistics partition genetic diversity into subdivisions within and among populations.’
    • ‘In 1947, the United Nations partitioned Palestine into two states - one Jewish, one Arab.’
    • ‘In 1947, when the UN voted to partition the region into a separate Jewish and Arab state, with Jerusalem entirely in the Arab state, the Arabs refused.’
    • ‘When agricultural land is partitioned, each plot is divided among a man's sons, ensuring that each one has a geographically dispersed holding.’
    • ‘The country was partitioned amid the most violent fratricidal fury.’
    • ‘In fact, Poland did not even exist on the maps at the time, because it was partitioned between three empires, but it did in some way take part in the European and the world game.’
    • ‘British India was partitioned into the separate states of Pakistan and India, which became independent on 15 August 1947.’
    • ‘So why should it surprise us that Nato and the UN thought the best thing for Kosovo would be first to partition Serbia and Kosovo, second to partition the towns within Kosovo?’
    • ‘It is true that in general legal process partitions its material so as to segregate past events and apply the civil standard of proof to them: so that liability for negligence will depend on a probabilistic conclusion as to what happened.’
    • ‘This secrecy means that the media cannot tell Wiltshire residents about it, nor tell them that its aim is to partition England into separate regions, all answerable to Brussels.’
    divide, divide up, subdivide, separate, split, split up, cut up, carve up, break up, sever, segregate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Divide (a room) into smaller rooms or areas by erecting partitions.
      ‘the hall was partitioned to contain the noise of the computers’
      • ‘Three-panel screens, big enough to partition a room with, can be fitted with full-size canvas images and cost from £475.’
      • ‘Well, they can partition off the operating system into ‘for adult’ and ‘for children’ compartments.’
      • ‘He shares the room, which has been partitioned with a curtain, with his his wife and two other men.’
      • ‘We were able to partition the room by putting two bookshelves on each side, creating a sort of entranceway in the middle for Mason's quarters.’
      • ‘The main hall of the YMCA has been partitioned into tiny rooms - less than three by three metres - using cellophane cloth.’
      • ‘The sink, dishwasher, fridge and so on are all either built behind the oversized cupboard that holds the crockery and also partitions the room, or behind one of the old doors that are no longer used.’
      • ‘And some revolving doors are partitioned into small, individual-sized portions, so that one person goes into each compartment and shuffles round by turn?’
      • ‘This section has been partitioned into several parts.’
      • ‘Flexible meeting space, for example, is achieved by partitioning larger rooms into smaller ones.’
      • ‘Striving for more private space people in apartment buildings partition original long hallways into smaller spaces.’
      • ‘A small porch leads into the main hall, which has been partitioned to create an open storage area.’
      • ‘Four pillars stood in the centre: the altar was partitioned off with wrought iron grilles and the side walls were tiled in blue and white floral patterns.’
      • ‘We somehow ended up in part of the pub that was partitioned off after we had been at our table for a while, and supposedly reserved for ‘Patrons of The Bush Theatre’.’
      • ‘According to Mr Hyland, five walls designed to partition the car park had been demolished, presumably by joyriders.’
      • ‘It was partitioned into two areas, living and sleeping quarters.’
      • ‘The old great hall was sometimes partitioned to make smaller rooms.’
      • ‘You could also partition off part of a room with an insulated timber frame and vapour barrier, then add a modified air conditioner to give you total control over temperature and humidity.’
      • ‘Wire and plastic are used to partition these halls, and as a result prostitution is now rife in the area.’
      • ‘They snuck in and closed the door behind them, pulling the curtain shut that partitioned the room.’
      • ‘Closets become meeting rooms; classrooms get divided; hallway dead ends are partitioned.’
      subdivide, separate, divide, divide up
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2partition something off Separate a part of a room from the rest by erecting a partition.
      ‘partition off part of a large bedroom to create a small bathroom’
      • ‘It was historically always a part of Israel until the Brits partitioned it off after WWI to appease the Bedouins who got railroaded out of Arabia by the Saudis.’
      • ‘If you have pets, partition this area off somehow so they will not have access to it, at least during the novena.’
      • ‘Yet it also reads as an individual building in that no separate rectilinear enclosing wall partitions it off from the larger site.’
      • ‘Jack partitioned it off with giant timbers and put in a woodburning, coal stove and sleeping loft.’


Late Middle English: from Latin partitio(n-), from partiri ‘divide into parts’.