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dis·​pro·​por·​tion ˌdis-prə-ˈpȯr-shən How to pronounce disproportion (audio)
: lack of proportion, symmetry, or proper relation : disparity
also : an instance of such disparity
disproportional adjective


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disproportioned; disproportioning; disproportions

transitive verb

: to make out of proportion : mismatch

Examples of disproportion in a Sentence

Noun His salary is in disproportion to what people who have similar jobs earn.
Recent Examples on the Web
The impunity of the American police has been achieved by slow accretion through the decades, and with the tacit understanding that it would be deployed in great disproportion against black people. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2023 One type of admirer thinks, Why this disproportion, a master catering to young birds? Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 22 June 2023 The success of the major streaming sites emerges from this disproportion: a one-month subscription costs less than a single movie ticket, and many viewers are willing to accept barely acceptable movies that then come to them without additional charges. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 23 Dec. 2020 There’s no contradiction, absurdity, or disproportion in the characters’ desires and strivings, but only in the thickly hostile political environment that opposes and resists them, and that Rockwell reveals in action, as if in a cinematic X-ray. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 29 Mar. 2023 In January, the VPC published another study, titled How the Firearms Industry and NRA Market Guns to Communities of Color, that could explain the disproportion found in the number of Latino victims of gun violence with respect to other racial groups. Laura Daniella Sepulveda, The Arizona Republic, 2 Aug. 2021 The Diversity Institute also used U.S. Census data for Cleveland Heights (50% white, 41% Black and the remainder other people of color), which police believe may have increased the disproportion in calculating the likelihood of Blacks being stopped. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 11 May 2021 Looking beyond the tech pay gap, the overall disproportion uncovered by our research told a similar story. Nigel Wilson, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2023 The Congressional Budget Office and National Academy of Sciences, to name two sources that painstakingly documented the disproportion. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 2 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disproportion.' 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 Middle French & New Latin; Middle French, borrowed from New Latin disprōportiōn-, disprōportiō, from Latin dis- dis- + prōportiōn-, prōportiō "analogy, proportion entry 1"

Note: A derivation that is perhaps just as likely is back-formation from disprōportiōnāre —see disproportionate. The noun disprōportiō was most likely current in later Medieval Latin, despite the lack of textual attestation, given the fifteenth-century instance of disproportion cited in Dictionnaire du moyen français. Compare also disproportion entry 2.


borrowed from Middle French disproportionner, borrowed from Medieval Latin disprōportiōnāre — more at disproportionate

First Known Use


1555, in the meaning defined above


1593, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disproportion was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near disproportion

Cite this Entry

“Disproportion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disproportion. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: lack of proportion, balance, or proper relation
also : an instance of this

Medical Definition


dis·​pro·​por·​tion ˌdis-prə-ˈpōr-shən, -ˈpȯr- How to pronounce disproportion (audio)
: absence of symmetry or the proper dimensional relationship
a disproportion between the large head and the average-size body
see cephalopelvic disproportion

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