Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm looking for a word (or expression) that is a hypernym of coalition and opposition. I want to be able to ask a party whether its "type", for lack of a better word, is coalition or the opposition without using that word:

— What is your [type]? — Coalition.

share|improve this question
    
@downvoter care to explain? –  Amir Rachum Oct 13 '12 at 14:02
    
I think your question may be confusing to some. You seem to pre-suppose that all political parties that are in government are part of a coalition and all parties not in government are the opposition (and not in coalition). These conditions don't apply to all systems of government. You could ask: "Is your party in government?", but that's not a hypernym. –  donothingsuccessfully Oct 13 '12 at 14:30
1  
@Kris: Your argument seems circular to me. Also coalitioncoalitionopposition and oppositioncoalitionopposition. Perhaps you mean that the set coalitionopposition does not form a natural kind –  donothingsuccessfully Oct 14 '12 at 6:35
1  
@AmirRachum: My main point was that for many people coalition is not synonymous with government, often governments are formed by single parties. –  donothingsuccessfully Oct 14 '12 at 6:37
1  
@donothingsuccessfully I agree that in many nations this is the case, but I think that Israel's case "often" cannot be applied. There are simply too many parties with a significant share of the Knesset. –  ghoppe Oct 16 '12 at 18:03

5 Answers 5

I would suggest one of:

  • bloc: a group of countries or political parties with common interests who have formed an alliance
  • faction
  • affiliation

There are also a couple of general terms that might also suit:

  • side
  • camp

They can perhaps answer the question:

Which ____ do you belong to? – Opposition.

share|improve this answer
    
'bloc' does seem to remotely fit. However it usually refers to left-wing/right-wing and not coalition/opposition. –  Nir Levy Oct 16 '12 at 8:45
1  
I don't think 'bloc' is restricted to left- or right- politics. It could just simply be a group with common interests or goals. –  ghoppe Oct 16 '12 at 18:00

Since this is a binary choice, a party can either be an opposition party or a governing (coalition) party, I would go with affiliation:

Party affiliation:  ☐ coalition (or government)
                    ☐ opposition
share|improve this answer

What about “group”, “organization”, “party” or “entity”?

Here are the hypernyms for “coalition” in WordNet:

Sense 1
alliance, coalition, alignment, alinement
       => organization, organisation
           => social group
               => group, grouping
                   => abstraction, abstract entity
                       => entity

Sense 2
coalition, fusion
       => union, unification
           => state
               => attribute
                   => abstraction, abstract entity
                       => entity

Sense 3
coalescence, coalescency, coalition, concretion, conglutination
       => union, unification, uniting, conjugation, jointure
           => combination, combining, compounding
               => change of integrity
                   => change
                       => action
                           => act, deed, human action, human activity
                               => event
                                   => psychological feature
                                       => abstraction, abstract entity
                                           => entity

And the hypernyms of “opposition” in WordNet:

Sense 1
resistance, opposition
       => action
           => act, deed, human action, human activity
               => event
                   => psychological feature
                       => abstraction, abstract entity
                           => entity

Sense 2
opposition, oppositeness
       => relation
           => abstraction, abstract entity
               => entity

Sense 3
confrontation, opposition
       => resistance
           => group action
               => act, deed, human action, human activity
                   => event
                       => psychological feature
                           => abstraction, abstract entity
                               => entity
               => event
                   => psychological feature
                       => abstraction, abstract entity
                           => entity

Sense 4
opposition, opponent, opposite
       => contestant
           => person, individual, someone, somebody, mortal, soul
               => organism, being
                   => living thing, animate thing
                       => whole, unit
                           => object, physical object
                               => physical entity
                                   => entity
               => causal agent, cause, causal agency
                   => physical entity
                       => entity

Sense 5
opposition
       => body
           => social group
               => group, grouping
                   => abstraction, abstract entity
                       => entity

Sense 6
opposition
       => direction
           => position, spatial relation
               => relation
                   => abstraction, abstract entity
                       => entity

Sense 7
enemy, foe, foeman, opposition
       => adversary, antagonist, opponent, opposer, resister
           => person, individual, someone, somebody, mortal, soul
               => organism, being
                   => living thing, animate thing
                       => whole, unit
                           => object, physical object
                               => physical entity
                                   => entity
               => causal agent, cause, causal agency
                   => physical entity
                       => entity

Sense 8
Opposition
       => party, political party
           => organization, organisation
               => social group
                   => group, grouping
                       => abstraction, abstract entity
                           => entity
share|improve this answer
    
I don't think these words are appropriate in a political context. –  Amir Rachum Oct 13 '12 at 13:57
    
Actually, what we need a hypernym that encompasses both the classes. An umbrella term, so to speak. –  Kris Oct 13 '12 at 14:00
    
@AmirRachum Sense 8 is clearly the political context. Political Party is the hypernym of Opposition. –  ghoppe Oct 16 '12 at 17:41
    
@Kris any word that occurs as a hypernym of both “coalition” and “opposition” should be an umbrella term, shouldn’t it? –  rberaldo Oct 16 '12 at 17:46

Collaborative leadership style.

share|improve this answer

I believe the term you are looking for is (party) standing or (party) status. At least that is the term used here in Canada.

What is the Tories' standing in Parliament? They're in government.

What's the status of the Liberals? They're in opposition.

This may be a Canadianism, though. There are rules, for example, on when a party attains major party status and with that certain kinds of public funding.

A Google search shows that at least 'party status' is used in the US as well.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.