Online Encyclopedia

PARTISAN, or PARTIZAN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 871 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PARTISAN, or PARTIZAN. (I) A thoroughgoing " party " man or adherent, usually in a depreciatory sense of one who puts his party before principles; (2) an irregular combatant or guerrilla soldier; (3) a weapon with a long shaft and a broad bladed head, of a type intermediate between the spear and the halberd (q.v.). In senses (1) and (2) the word is derived through the Fr. from Ital. partigiano, from parteggiare, to share, take part in, Lat. pars, part. The name for the weapon has also been attributed to the same origin, as being that used by " partisans," but there is no historical evidence for this. The form which the word now takes in French, pertuisane, has given rise to a connexion with pertuis, hole; Lat. pertusus, pertundere, to strike through. But the most probable derivation is from the Teutonic parta, barta, axe, which forms the last part of " halberd."
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