ap·​por·​tion ə-ˈpȯr-shən How to pronounce apportion (audio)
apportioned; apportioning ə-ˈpȯr-sh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce apportion (audio)

transitive verb

: to divide and share out according to a plan
especially : to make a proportionate division or distribution of
Representatives are apportioned among the states.
apportionable adjective

Examples of apportion in a Sentence

The proceeds from the auction will be apportioned among the descendants. Apportion the expenses between the parties involved. The agency apportions water from the lake to residents.
Recent Examples on the Web But the original purpose was in apportioning the U.S. House of Representatives districts fairly among the states. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Mar. 2021 The prevailing document will determine how Franklin’s estate — valued at $18 million shortly after her death — is apportioned among the sons and other potential heirs. Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press, 11 July 2023 The upcoming negotiations will also involve questions about how the current system of managing dams and apportioning water can be revamped to adapt to climate change. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2023 Everything is so perfectly apportioned on the tray. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 June 2023 In addition, money from the citywide fund can be apportioned to individual neighborhoods whose own pots are just short of having enough for a specific project. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 June 2023 The vital but increasingly strained Colorado River, is at the center of the debate along with a labyrinth of agreements carefully apportioning its water to serve nearly 40 million Americans across the West. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 20 Mar. 2023 How ambitious to be is a controversial topic in Paris, as is how to apportion the burden of responsibility among governments, corporations, and individuals. Jacob Turcotte, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 June 2023 In 1948 that apportioning made sense because fission and fusion seemed promising, and no one much saw the need for efficiency. Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, 1 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apportion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Anglo-French aporcioner, apporcioner "to divide up, assess (a tax)," (also continental Middle French apporcionner), borrowed from Medieval Latin apportiōnāre, from Latin ap- ap- entry 1 + Medieval Latin portiōnāre "to divide into portions" — more at portion entry 2

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apportion was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near apportion

Cite this Entry

“Apportion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ap·​por·​tion ə-ˈpōr-shən How to pronounce apportion (audio)
apportioned; apportioning -sh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce apportion (audio)
: to divide and distribute in proportion

Legal Definition


transitive verb
ap·​por·​tion ə-ˈpȯr-shən How to pronounce apportion (audio)
: to make a usually proportionate division or distribution of (an amount due) according to a plan: as
: to divide (an amount due in tax or other liability) among the parties responsible for respective shares of the payment compare contribution
: to assign (a portion of the consideration agreed to in a contract) as payment for the other party's partial performance
: to distribute (corporate dividends) based on some proportion
: to assign (legislative representatives and taxes) among the states as provided by law
apportionable adjective
apportionment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on apportion

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