Everyone loves a good party! But did you know that there are several different meanings for this word in English? Let’s learn 30 words and expressions with the word “party”
1) party = celebration
The verbs we use for organizing a party are have a party and, more informally, throw a party (don’t say “do a party” or “make a party”). The people who come to a party are called guests, and the person/people organizing the party are called the hosts.
The hosts need to invite the guests to the party (ask them to come) and the guests should RSVP – inform the hosts whether or not they will attend. Although you can say “attend a party,” it’s far more common and casual to say go to a party.
When referring to presence at the party, always use at (not “in”): I was at the party last night; they will be at the party on Sunday.
A few different types of parties include:
- a birthday party to celebrate someone turning another year older
- a farewell party to say “goodbye” to someone who is leaving the area permanently or for a long time
- a housewarming party to congratulate the owners of a new home or apartment
- a surprise party is one where the main person being honored/celebrated does not know in advance that a party is being organized
When there’s a lot of activity at a party, you can say the party is in full swing. Sometimes it turns into a wild party, meaning one where people are acting crazy and may be out of control.
Party can also be a verb – for example, you can say “We’re going to party this weekend” or “My neighbors partied all night.”
2) party = a political group with a certain set of beliefs
You might have read in the news about political parties – groups of citizens and/or government members who share a particular perspective or set of beliefs.
Political parties vary from country to country, but you might have a more conservative party (which believes in tradition and keeping things the same) and a more liberal/progressive party (which wants to bring about social change and evolution).
There might also be a green party, which focuses on environmental issues, and a workers’ party, which focuses on supporting the common people/workers. Sometimes there is a radical party, which has very extreme beliefs.
The party that currently holds most of the power in the country can be called the governing party or ruling party. During elections, people’s votes might put a party into power. If you are officially registered as belonging to a certain party, then you are a member of the party.
3) party = a group of people doing something specific together
The three most common expressions with this definition of party are:
- a search party = a group of people and professionals who are looking for a missing person
- a rescue party = a group of people and professionals who are helping save people after an accident or disaster. Sometimes these two expressions are combined: for example, a “search and rescue party” to help find and save people after an earthquake
- a party of… (number) = when you make a reservation for a restaurant, you can say, for example, “I’d like to make a reservation for a party of four” – meaning that a group of four people will be eating together. If you don’t specify the number, someone at the restaurant might ask, “How many in your party?”
4) party = a formal word for a person/company (often used in legal cases)
In contracts and legal language, the word “party” is a generic term for a person or company that is involved in the situtation. You might hear expressions like:
- the guilty party (the person/company that did something bad or wrong)
- the injured party (the person/company that was the victim)
- an interested party (someone who may have an interest in or be affected by this case)
- a third party (someone who is separate from the two main parties involved in the contract, negotiation, or dispute)