American English

Definition of part noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] part of something some but not all of a thing We spent part of the time in the museum. Part of the building was destroyed in the fire. Voters are given only part of the story (= only some of the information). Part of me feels sorry for him (= I feel partly, but not entirely, sorry for him).
  2. piece
  3. 2[countable] a section, piece, or feature of something The early part of her life was spent in Paris. The novel is good in parts. We've done the difficult part of the job. The procedure can be divided into two parts. The worst part was having to wait three hours in the rain.
  4. member
  5. 3[uncountable] a member of something; a person or thing that, together with others, makes up a single unit You need to be able to work as part of a team.
  6. of machine
  7. 4[countable] a piece of a machine or structure aircraft parts the working parts of the machinery spare parts
  8. of body/plant
  9. 5[countable] a separate piece or area of a human or animal body or of a plant the parts of the body see also private parts
  10. region/area
  11. 6[countable] an area or a region of the world, a country, a town, etc. the northern part of the country a plant that grows in many parts of the world Which part of Japan do you come from? Come and visit us if you're ever in our part of the world.
  12. 7parts [plural] (old-fashioned) (informal) a region or an area She's not from these parts. He's just arrived back from foreign parts.
  13. of book/series
  14. 8[countable] (abbreviation pt.) a section of a book, television series, etc., especially one that is published or broadcast separately an encyclopedia published in 25 weekly parts Henry IV, Part II The final part will be shown next Sunday evening.
  15. for actor
  16. 9[countable] a role played by an actor in a play, movie, etc.; the words spoken by an actor in a particular role She was very good in the part. Have you learned your part yet? (figurative) He's always playing a part (= pretending to be something that he is not).
  17. involvement
  18. 10[countable, usually singular, uncountable] the way in which someone or something is involved in an action or situation He had no part in the decision. Alcohol plays a part in 70 percent of divorces. I want no part of this sordid business.
  19. in music
  20. 11[countable] music for a particular voice or instrument in a group singing or playing together the clarinet part four-part harmony
  21. equal portion
  22. 12[countable] a unit of measurement that allows you to compare the different amounts of substances in something Add three parts wine to one part water. fluoride levels of 0.2 parts per million
  23. in hair
  24. 13[countable] a line on a person's head where the hair is divided with a comb
  25. Idioms
    be greater/more than the sum of its parts
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    to be better or more effective as a group than you would think just by looking at the individual members of the group
    the best/better part of something
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    most of something, especially a period of time; more than half of something He drank the best part of a bottle of Scotch waiting for her to get home. The trip took her the better part of an hour.
    discretion is the better part of valor (saying)
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    you should avoid danger and not take unnecessary risks
    for the most part
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    mostly; usually The contributors are, for the most part, professional scientists. Language Bankgenerallyways of saying “in general” Women generally earn less than men. Generally speaking, jobs traditionally done by women are paid at a lower rate than those traditionally done by men. In general/By and large, women do not earn as much as men. Certain jobs, like nursing and cleaning, are still mainly carried out by women. Senior management posts are held predominantly by men. Most senior management posts tend to be held by men. Women are, for the most part, still paid less than men. Economic and social factors are, to a large extent, responsible for women being concentrated in low-paid jobs.
    for my, his, their, etc. part
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    speaking for myself, etc. synonym personally
    have/play/take/want no part in/of something
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    to not be involved or refuse to be involved in something, especially because you disapprove of it I want no part of this sordid business.
    have/play a part (in something)
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     to be involved in something She plays an active part in local politics. Alcohol plays a part in 70 percent of divorces.
    have a part to play (in something)
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    to be able to help something We all have a part to play in the fight against crime.
    in large part, in large measure (formal)
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    to a great extent Their success is due in large part to their determination.
    partly; to some extent Her success was due in part to luck.
    look/dress the part
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    to have an appearance or wear clothes suitable for a particular job, role, or position
    a man/woman of (many) parts
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    a person with many skills
    on the part of somebody/on somebody's part
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    made or done by someone It was an error on my part.
    part and parcel of something
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    an essential part of something Keeping the accounts is part and parcel of my job.
    part of the furniture
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    a person or thing that you are so used to seeing that you no longer notice them I worked there so long that I became part of the furniture.
    take part (in something)
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    to be involved in something synonym participate to take part in a discussion/demonstration/fight/celebration How many countries took part in the last Olympic Games?
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: part