• party •
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A group of people gathered for a particular purpose, as a cocktail party, a raiding party, a party of tourists. 2. A political organization, as the Republican Party, the Social Democrat Party. 3. A participant, individual or group, as a party to a decision or contract. 4. An enjoyable social event.
Notes: The various meanings of this word come from the sense of "participate, take part in". You may take part in an evening of enjoyment, a raid, or a tourist excursion. You can participate in a decision, contract, or politics. The meaning is so broad, the specific uses take on meanings themselves until we get to the verb, to party, which applies to only one of those uses: having a good time. Remember to change the [y] to [i] in the plural: parties.
In Play: I hope you are so constantly effervescent that you feel like a walking party. However, you might not want to be a party to everything: "I will not be a party to any prank involving foul-smelling liquid in balloons." Genghis Khan was a real party dude, who loved to stage raiding parties. But calling the Republicans, Democrats, Communists, and Socialists parties does seem a stretch.
Word History: Our Good Word today comes from Old French partie "part, side, group", the feminine past participle of partir "to divide", the descendant of Latin partire. The Latin verb is based on the noun pars (part- with suffixes) "a part, a share". The sense of political party was the first to arise, referring to the part or side of a particular issue. This sense migrated to a group of people from where it went on to refer to a social gathering. This root not only appears in parse, particle, parcel, impart, and repartee, it is also seen in portion and pair, which came to us via French from Latin par "an equal".
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