part / pärt/ • n. 1. a piece or segment of something such as an object, activity, or period of time, which combined with other pieces makes up the whole: divide the circle into three equal parts the early part of 1989. ∎ an element or constituent that belongs to something and is essential to its nature: I was part of the family. ∎ a component of a machine: the production of aircraft parts. ∎ a measure allowing comparison between the amounts of different ingredients used in a mixture: repot plants in a mixture of three parts soil, one part sand. ∎ a specified fraction of a whole: they paid a twentieth part of the cost. ∎ a division of a book treated as a unit in which a particular topic is discussed. ∎ the amount of a serial that is published or broadcast at one time. ∎ (parts) inf. short for private parts. 2. some but not all of something: the painting tells only part of the story. ∎ a point on or area of something: hold the furthest part of your leg that you can reach. ∎ (parts) inf. a region, esp. one not clearly specified or delimited: they wanted to know why he was loitering in these parts. 3. a character as represented in a play or movie; a role played by an actor or actress: she played a lot of leading parts he took the part of Prospero. ∎ the words and directions to be learned and performed by an actor in such a role: she was memorizing a part. ∎ Mus. a melody or other constituent of harmony assigned to a particular voice or instrument in a musical work: he coped well with the percussion part. ∎ the contribution made by someone or something to an action or situation: he played a key part in ending the revolt he may be jailed for his part in the robbery. ∎ the behavior appropriate to or expected of a person in a particular role or situation; a person's duty: in such a place his part is to make good. ∎ the chance to be involved in something: they were legislating for a future they had no part in. 4. (parts) archaic abilities. 5. a line of scalp revealed in a person's hair by combing the hair away in opposite directions on either side. • v. [intr.] (of two things) move away from each other: his lips parted in a smile. ∎ divide to leave a central space: at that moment the mist parted. ∎ [tr.] cause to divide or move apart, leaving a central space: she parted the ferns and looked between them. ∎ leave someone's company: there was a good deal of kissing and more congratulations before we parted. ∎ (be parted) leave the company of someone: she can't bear to be parted from her daughter again. ∎ (part with) give up possession of; hand over: even quite small companies parted with large sums. ∎ [tr.] separate (the hair of the head on either side of the part) with a comb. • adv. to some extent; partly (often used to contrast different parts of something): the city is now part slum, part consumer paradise. PHRASES: be part and parcel of be an essential feature or element of: it's best to accept that some inconveniences are part and parcel of travel. for my (or his, her, etc.) part used to focus attention on one person or group and distinguish them from others involved in a situation: for my part I was glad when the end of September came. in part to some extent though not entirely: the cause of the illness is at least in part psychological. look the part have an appearance or style of dress appropriate to a particular role or situation. a man of (many) parts a man showing great ability in many different areas. on the part of (or on my, their, etc., part) used to ascribe responsibility for something to someone: there was a series of errors on my part. part company (of two or more people) cease to be together; go in different directions: they parted company outside the Red Lion. ∎ (of two or more parties) cease to associate with each other, esp. as the result of a disagreement: the chairman has parted company with the club. take part join in an activity; be involved: we have come here to take part in a major game they ran away and took no part in the battle. take the part of give support and encouragement to (someone) in a dispute.
A part is related to a whole as something into which a whole is divisible and of which it is constituted. Thus a whole is prior to its parts in the order of being and of understanding, but in the order of becoming the parts are prior to the whole that is made from them by process of change.
Quantitative and Integral Parts. In the clearest case, a part is something into which a quantity is divisible. A quantitative part is smaller in comparison with the larger whole of which it is a part when both whole and part are finite and actual. A part that can measure the whole without remainder is called an aliquot part, as two is of four or three of nine. A continuous quantity is always divisible into parts that in turn are also divisibles, not indivisibles. A quantitative point can be the beginning or end of a line or of a segment of a line, but it is indivisible and so is not a part of a line. A whole or cardinal number is a discrete quantity composed of units. The unit is both part and measure of numbers, but in the order of discrete quantity it is without parts and is indivisible. The parts of which a quantity is composed or integrated and into which it is divisible are called integral parts. A natural body has integral parts that exhibit qualitative differences and are called heterogeneous parts, as the various organs of plant or animal and the parts of molecules or atoms. Integral parts that are required for the whole to be, without which it cannot be, or that are regularly present in the whole, are called proper parts, as the head or hand in man.
Physical, Entitative, and Virtual Parts. In a sensible thing composed of matter and form, both the matter and the form are called physical parts. The wood of which a chair is made is part of the chair, namely, the matter, and the figure of a statue is part of the statue, namely, the form. When both matter and form are extended or quantified, they are likewise divisible into parts, as this or that part of the wood or part of the figure. The primary principles, or natures, of which natural bodies are made and composed are also called physical parts, as the material nature, or proper matter, of a chemical compound or of an organism and its formal nature, or specifying form. The parts of which any created being, as such, is composed are called entitative parts, namely essence and existence.
Parts that do not include the full perfection of the whole, as the vegetative and sensitive parts of the animal, are said to be virtual, or potential. Such parts are distinguishable by human reason even though they are not distinct in the whole, which is one and undivided in itself, and when made distinct by mental precising they include the whole but not wholly. Thus the animal is an organism; moreover, it is a sensitive organism.
Logical Parts. The parts signified by terms expressed in a definition are called logical parts, because they express man's understanding of an essence, or essential nature. In a definition composed of terms that signify the genus and the specific difference, the genus is part of the species because the species expresses the whole essence, whereas the genus expresses the virtual part that is determinable by the difference. Thus if man is defined as a tool-making animal, the term "animal" signifies the determinable part of the essence, or essential nature, of man, and the term "tool-making", understood radically, signifies the determining part, or specific difference in man. However, the species that are included in a genus are parts of the genus, called subjective parts, because the genus is the whole that includes the species, whether these are actual or merely in potency.
See Also: distinction, kinds of; division (logic); element; atomism.
Bibliography: aristotle, Metaphysics 1023b 12–25. thomas aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles 2.72. v. mathieu, Enciclopedia filosofica (Venice-Rome 1957) 3:1171–72.
[w. h. kane]
1. The mus. from which a particular perf. or singer in an ens. works, e.g. bass part, ob. part. One speaks of ‘score and parts’, to denote the full score (containing all the parts) and the individual parts.
2. Individual line of notes to be perf. by any instr. or v., or group of instrs. or vv., thus, Fugue in 4 parts, etc.
3. A division of a large comp., e.g. Part I of The Dream of Gerontius. See also colla parte.
A. portion of a whole; portion allotted, share XIII; portion of the body XIV; melody assigned to a voice or instrument XVI;
B. region; side XIV. — (O)F. part = It. parte :— L. pars, part- share, part of a whole, side, direction.
Also adv. and adj. in part, partly, partial XVI. Hence partly (-LY2) XVI. So part vb. A. divide into parts; B. put or go asunder; C. depart XIII. — (O)F. partir :— L. (Rom.) partīre, partīrī divide, distribute, part.