If you describe something as partial, you're usually saying it's just part of the whole, or incomplete. Say someone asks how you started your band and you say, "I bought a guitar." That would be a partial answer, at best.

Partial has another meaning, too. If you say you are partial to something, you are expressing a fondness for it. Or not. If someone asks you whether you still love your husband after 50 years of marriage, for example, and you say, "I'm partial to him," you're either joking or politely saying "Not really." Being partial to something is to love as a warm stove is to a bonfire.

Definitions of partial
  1. adjective
    being or affecting only a part; not total
    “a partial description of the suspect”
    partial collapse”
    “a partial eclipse”
    “a partial monopoly”
    partial immunity”
    incomplete, uncomplete
    not complete or total; not completed
  2. adjective
    showing favoritism
    unfair, unjust
    not fair; marked by injustice or partiality or deception
    biased, colored, coloured, one-sided, slanted
    favoring one person or side over another
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    showing lack of favoritism
    fair, just
    free from favoritism or self-interest or bias or deception; conforming with established standards or rules
    unaffected by self-interest
    cold-eyed, dispassionate
    unaffected by strong emotion or prejudice
    indifferent, unbiased, unbiassed
    characterized by a lack of partiality
    marked by no especial liking or dislike or preference for one thing over another
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  3. adjective
    (followed by `of' or `to') having a strong preference or liking for
    partial to horror movies”
    synonyms: fond
    (often followed by `to') having a preference, disposition, or tendency
  4. noun
    a harmonic with a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency
    synonyms: overtone, partial tone
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    type of:
    a tone that is a component of a complex sound
  5. noun
    the derivative of a function of two or more variables with respect to a single variable while the other variables are considered to be constant
    synonyms: partial derivative
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    type of:
    derivative, derived function, differential, differential coefficient, first derivative
    the result of mathematical differentiation; the instantaneous change of one quantity relative to another; df(x)/dx
Word Family

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