noun pl. par·ties
a. A social gathering especially for pleasure or amusement: a cocktail party.
A group of people who have gathered to participate in an activity. See Synonyms at band2
- An established political group organized to promote and support its principles and candidates for public office.
a. A person or group involved in an enterprise; a participant or an accessory: I refuse to be a party to your silly scheme.
b. Law A person or group involved in a legal proceeding as a litigant.
a. A subscriber to a telephone party line.
b. A person using a telephone.
- A person: “And though Grainger was a spry old party, such steps couldn't be his” (Anthony Hyde).
- A selected group of soldiers: a raiding party.
a. An act of sexual intercourse.
b. An orgy.
intransitive verb par·tied
- Of, relating to, or participating in an established political organization: party members; party politics.
- Suitable for use at a social gathering: party dresses; a party hat.
- Characteristic of a pleasurable social gathering: a party atmosphere.
To celebrate or carouse at or as if at a party: That night we partied until dawn.
Origin: Middle English partie, part, side, group
Origin: , from Old French
Origin: , from feminine past participle of partir, to divide
Origin: , from Latin partīre
Origin: , from pars, part-, part; see part
Usage Note: Party
- parˈty·er, parˈti·er noun
is unexceptionable when used to refer to a participant in a social arrangement, as in She was not named as a party in the conspiracy.
It is this sense that underlies the legal use of the term, as when one speaks of the parties to a contract.
The legal use has in turn led to the presence of the word in many fixed expressions, such as injured party
and third party.
is also widely used as a general substitute for person,
as in Would all parties who left packages at the desk please reclaim them.
This usage has been established for many centuries, but in the Victorian era it came to be associated with the language of the semieducated and it has been the subject of many later criticisms. This use of party
may have been reinforced in the 20th century by its adoption by telephone operators. In other contexts, when used in earnest, it may be perceived as a superfluous variant for person.
But the jocular use of the term is well established, particularly in references such as a wise old party.