par·tial / ˈpärshəl/ • adj. 1. existing only in part; incomplete: a question to which we have only partial answers.2. favoring one side in a dispute above the other; biased: the paper gave a distorted and very partial view of the situation. ∎ (partial to) having a liking for: you know I'm partial to bacon and eggs.• n. Mus. a component of a musical sound; an overtone or harmonic: the upper partials of the string.DERIVATIVES: par·tial·ly adv. a partially open door. par·tial·ness n.