1. Of, relating to, being, or affecting only a part; not total; incomplete: The plan calls for partial deployment of missiles. The police have only a partial description of the suspect.
2. Favoring one person or side over another or others; biased or prejudiced: a decision that was partial to the plaintiff.
3. Having a particular liking or fondness for something or someone: partial to spicy food.
4. Mathematics Of or being operations or sequences of operations, such as differentiation and integration, when applied to only one of several variables at a time.
1. Music See harmonic.
2. Mathematics A partial derivative.
[Middle English parcial, from Old French, from Late Latin partiālis, from Latin pars, part-, part; see PART.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.