Blend of Gerry + salamander (named after Elbridge Gerry), from the similarity in shape to a salamander of an electoral district created when Gerry was the governor of Massachusetts. Coined by editors of the Boston Gazette in 26 March 1812, in text likely written by Nathan Hale and Benjamin and John Russell, and accompanying a cartoon by Elkanah Tisdale.
- Elbridge Gerry's surname was pronounced with a hard g (enPR: g, /ɡ/) but gerrymander is most commonly pronounced with a soft g (enPR: j, /dʒ/).
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: jĕ'rēmăn"də, IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛɹiˌmændə/
- (US) enPR: jĕ'rēmăn"dər, IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛɹiˌmændɚ/
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- (transitive, derogatory) To divide a geographic area into voting districts in such a way as to give an unfair advantage to one party in an election.
- (transitive, derogatory, by extension) To draw dividing lines for other types of districts in an unintuitive way to favor a particular group or for other perceived gain.
- The superintendent helped gerrymander the school district lines in order to keep the children of the wealthy gated community in the better school all the way across town.
gerrymander (plural gerrymanders)
- (derogatory) The act of gerrymandering.
- By this iniquitous practice, which is known as the gerrymander, the party in a minority in each State is allowed to get only about one-half or one-quarter of its proper share of representation.
- (derogatory) A voting district skewed by gerrymandering.
- Any citizen looking at a map of district 12 could immediately tell that it was a gerrymander because of the ridiculous way it cut across 4 counties while carving up neighborhoods in half.