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Is there any single word for a person who chooses one of two opposing sides of an issue?

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closed as not a real question by Bill Franke, J.R., Kristina Lopez, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Bravo Jan 31 '13 at 21:04

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So you're looking for somebody who does not sit on the fence? –  coleopterist Jan 31 '13 at 8:38
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Can you please provide some context where you are looking to use the requested word? –  KeyBrd Basher Jan 31 '13 at 8:47
    
To everybody: Can the word/phrase dual personality or split personality be used in this case? –  KK. Jan 31 '13 at 10:39
    
@KK: Definitely not. It could be used (wrongly in medical terms, and certainly insultingly) for somebody who supported both sides of the argument. –  TimLymington Jan 31 '13 at 11:00

4 Answers 4

Proponent, perhaps. That, in the OED’s definition, is

a person who puts forward or advocates a theory, proposal, or course of action; a propounder, a proposer. In later use also more generally: a person who is in favour of a proposal, a supporter.

Alternatively, you might want to consider protagonist. A protagonist originally meant the main character in a play or other work of fiction, but its use is now extended to describe someone who promotes, advocates or defends a particular cause or idea.

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However you can be a proponent for one issue without the existence of an opposing issue –  mplungjan Jan 31 '13 at 12:52

Advocate

If the discussion was cheese board or ice cream, in the great "what shall we have for pudding" debate, then I would always be a cheese board advocate.

My daughter would be an ice cream advocate.

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That is only if you decide that there are two issues. I can be an advocate on one issue without a second issue. –  mplungjan Jan 31 '13 at 12:47

Bias

The person is biased or shows bias

Noun Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Verb Show prejudice for or against (someone or something) unfairly: "the tests were biased against women"; "a biased view of the world".

Synonyms
noun. prejudice - inclination - partiality - tendency
verb. influence - prejudice


Partial to - idiom - more than two things may exist to partial to


Take sides - an idiom - more than two sides may exist to choose from


One-sided or Slanted - again slightly negative antonyms to impartial


Partisan

In politics, a partisan is a committed member of a political party. In multi-party systems, the term is widely understood to carry a negative connotation - referring to those who wholly support their party's policies and are perhaps even reluctant to acknowledge correctness on the part of their political opponents in almost any situation.


Whereas proponent and advocate can be for one thing only, the above examples are relevant for two (Bias) respectively two or more issues (partial to ,take sides, partisan)

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A partisan, by definition, is throwing their lot in with a group and acting for the group on all issues, rather than choosing a side on a given issue. If e.g. someone opposed to the death penalty was in a party that supported it, then they'd be more partisan in ignoring the issue, less partisan in promoting their own views, against the party line. –  Jon Hanna Jan 31 '13 at 10:51
    
Both your suggestions imply irrational behavior. If you are biased or partisan, you are not picking a side logically, you are picking it because of external factors not related to the issue. People who are biased or partisan can choose one side of an argument, but not all people who choose one side of an argument are biased or partisan. –  Facebook Answers Jan 31 '13 at 13:12
    
I would not necessarily call it irrational to be biased towards some issue. How about Partial to? –  mplungjan Jan 31 '13 at 13:22
    
What's with the down-vote? Biased is the word to use if the meaning is a negative one. That does not mean it is wrong! –  mplungjan Jan 31 '13 at 13:28
    
I did think a bit before using the word irrational. I couldn't think of a better (or less worse) word to use though. –  Facebook Answers Jan 31 '13 at 13:36

Perheps defender

a person who supports another person or thing in the face of criticism, esp by argument or evidence:
-a strong defender of human rights;
-they were staunch defenders of democracy;
-the most ardent defenders of conventional family values

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