Party-Colored -- Two Distinctly Different Definitions

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Nov 17 01:39:31 UTC 2008

> "Party colored male 7weeks old shih tzu for sale"
> That's the headline on an e-mail I received today. I was curious, so I
> googled 'party-colored'.
> 19K + hits. Not a _lot_, but a surprising number.
> More surprising was the fact that two strikingly different definitions
> exist -- one have to doing with shading something in favor of a political
> party, the other explained photographically under one of the google hits,
> this one entitled "What is a party-colored poodle?"
> The dog in question, on in answer, as it were, has irregular color spots
> that are reminiscent of a clown's suit. I guess 'party colored' sounds
> better to some ears than _clown-spotted_.

Apparently a variant of "parti-colored" = "marked by different colors or
tints" (MW3). Both spellings shown in RHUD. Not directly related to the
modern noun "party" AFAIK, but rather from French "parti" = "divided" or
so, it seems. There is a broader sense, "variegated"/"diverse".

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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