Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Old English, both from Latin part-, pars; perhaps akin to Latin parare to prepare — more at pare
Date: before 12th century
(1) one of the often indefinite or unequal subdivisions into which something is or is regarded as divided and which together constitute the whole
(2) an essential portion or integral element
b. one of several or many equal units of which something is composed or into which it is divisible ; an amount equal to another amount <mix one part of the powder with three parts of water> c. (1) an exact divisor of a quantity ; aliquot (2) partial fraction d. one of the constituent elements of a plant or animal body: as (1) organ, member (2) plural private parts e. a division of a literary work f. (1) a vocal or instrumental line or melody in concerted music or in harmony (2) a particular voice or instrument in concerted music; also the score for it g. a constituent member of a machine or other apparatus; also a spare part 2. something falling to one in a division or apportionment ; share <wanted no part of the proposal> 3. one's share or allotted task (as in an action) ; duty <one must do one's part> 4. one of the opposing sides in a conflict or dispute 5. a general area of indefinite boundaries — usually used in plural <you're not from around these parts> <took off for parts unknown> 6. a function or course of action performed 7. a. an actor's lines in a play b. the role of a character in a play 8. a constituent of character or capacity ; talent <a man of many parts> 9. the line where the hair is parted Synonyms: part, portion, piece, member, division, section, segment, fragment mean something less than the whole. part is a general term appropriate when indefiniteness is required <they ran only part of the way>. portion implies an assigned or allotted part <cut the pie into six portions>. piece applies to a separate or detached part of a whole <a puzzle with 500 pieces>. member suggests one of the functional units composing a body <a structural member>. division applies to a large or diversified part <the manufacturing division of the company>. section applies to a relatively small or uniform part <the entertainment section of the newspaper>. segment applies to a part separated or marked out by or as if by natural lines of cleavage <the retired segment of the population>. fragment applies to a part produced by or as if by breaking off <only a fragment of the play still exists>. II. verb Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French partir, from Latin partire to divide, from part-, pars Date: 13th century intransitive verb 1. a. to separate from or take leave of someone b. to take leave of one another 2. to become separated into parts 3. a. to go away ; depart b. die 4. to become separated, detached, or broken 5. to relinquish possession or control <hated to part with that money> transitive verb 1. a. to divide into parts b. to separate by combing on each side of a line c. to break or suffer the breaking of (as a rope or anchor chain) 2. to divide into shares and distribute ; apportion 3. a. to remove from contact or association <if aught but death part thee and me — Ruth 1:17(Authorized Version)> b. to keep separate <the narrow channel that parts England from France> c. to hold (as brawlers) apart d. to separate by a process of extraction, elimination, or secretion 4. a. archaic leave, quit b. dialect British relinquish, give up III. adverb Date: 1513 partly IV. adjective Date: 1818 partial 1 V. abbreviation 1. participial; participle 2. particular
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.