por·​ta·​ble | \ ˈpȯr-tə-bəl How to pronounce portable (audio) \

Definition of portable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : capable of being carried or moved about a portable TV
b : characterized by portability a portable pension
c : usable on many computers with little or no modification portable software
2 archaic : bearable



Definition of portable (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is portable

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Other Words from portable


portably \ ˈpȯr-​tə-​blē How to pronounce portably (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for portable

Synonyms: Adjective

mobile, movable (or moveable)

Antonyms: Adjective

immobile, immovable, irremovable, nonmobile, unmovable

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Examples of portable in a Sentence


Portable devices such as MP3 players are becoming increasingly popular.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The downtown hotel has teamed up with the Houston Museum of Natural Science to host the Discovery Dome, a portable, inflatable planetarium. Connie Dufner, Dallas News, "Over the moon: Apollo obsession strikes big as Houston prepares for lunar landing milestone," 2 July 2019 In May, the city council voted to spend money placing portable bathrooms and showers in high-need areas including downtown, inner Southeast and outer East Portland. oregonlive.com, "How a dirty city gets clean: Efforts to clean up Portland’s downtown come together this summer," 2 July 2019 New struggles, but also new strength Blu Ruby Diamond, who goes by Ruby, walked into the center toting her portable speaker and microphone. New York Times, "For Young People of Color, a Safe L.G.B.T.Q. Space in the Bronx," 29 June 2019 Aimed for use in smartphones and tiny portable speakers, Dirac Bass gets around the physical limitations of those small devices with a deft trick of psychoacoustics. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Dirac Bass will trick you into perceiving deeper bass from your phone’s speakers," 18 Dec. 2018 Miss: Backslide on amenities There were the astronomically long lines to portable bathrooms and many often lacked toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Samantha West, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eaux Claires recap: The best and worst of the indie festival in its 4th year," 8 July 2018 Equipped with a tablet loaded with a digital neighborhood map, and a portable charger, field workers like Laryea are testing new technologies moving away from the pencil and paper of the previous census. Youyou Zhou, Quartz Africa, "Ghana is betting on a digital census in 2020 to transform its informal economy," 18 June 2019 Juice up: Charge your devices the night before and bring a portable charger with you. Seventeen, "How to Prep For Your First Pride Parade," 14 June 2019 On Saturday, militants downed the Russian plane using a man-portable air-defense system, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. Erin Cunningham, Washington Post, "Syria’s Idlib province pounded by Russian airstrikes, activists say," 5 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The facility, previously used as a man camp for workers in the area's oil industry, currently has three operating dormitory units, which are large portables that have multiple living units that each have three rooms with a total of 12 bunk beds. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Is Carrizo Springs migrant facility 'too much, too late' in addressing the migrant crisis on the southern border?," 10 July 2019 This Samsung tablet offers Android users a portable, 2-in-1 experience. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Tablets You Can Buy in 2019," 13 June 2019 Some of those structures will be swapped out for new portables, while others will replaced by permanent classrooms. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Carlsbad schools launch school construction with $85 million bond issue," 12 June 2019 Here's a list of our favorite window A/Cs, our favorite portable A/Cs (which trades energy-saving for convenience), and a guide to get your central air unit running a peak efficiency. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Cool Down a Room (Without Blasting A/C)," 7 June 2019 New portables would have cost the town $777,000, with a 32 percent, or $250,000, state reimbursement to the district. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "South Windsor Officials Searching For Used Portable Classrooms," 4 June 2018 L’interdiction générale des téléphones portables dans les écoles et les collèges a été définitivement adoptée par l’Assemblée nationale aujourd’hui. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "France bans smartphone use in schools," 1 Aug. 2018 The school system is now in the market for used portable classrooms after officials learned there is a backlog of orders for new portables until November. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "South Windsor Officials Searching For Used Portable Classrooms," 4 June 2018 The school has added two outdoor portables to accommodate more children on their property off N Street and 12th Avenue, said principal Ahrens. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Should Anchorage close schools? Here’s what the school district’s efficiency consultant says.," 19 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'portable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of portable


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1708, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for portable


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin portabilis, from Latin portare to carry — more at fare

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Statistics for portable

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for portable

The first known use of portable was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for portable



English Language Learners Definition of portable

: easy to carry or move around


por·​ta·​ble | \ ˈpȯr-tə-bəl How to pronounce portable (audio) \

Kids Definition of portable

: easy or possible to carry or move about a portable television

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More from Merriam-Webster on portable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for portable

Spanish Central: Translation of portable

Nglish: Translation of portable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of portable for Arabic Speakers

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