por·​ta·​ble | \ ˈpȯr-tə-bəl \

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 \ 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

Finally, the PowerCore+ portable charger is $60 today, down from a list price of $87. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "Amazon's 1-day Anker sale brings all-time low prices on chargers and cables," 2 Nov. 2018 Also known as the in-law cottage or MEDCottage, the tiny home is essentially a portable hospital room designed by a Blacksburg, VA, company, with help from Virginia Tech. Christine Coppa, Country Living, "'Granny Pods' Allow Elderly Family Members to Live in a High-Tech Backyard Cottage," 13 Dec. 2018 For Teigen and Monae, fluffy, teddy bear-style coats fit the bill, while Rihanna went directional and slipped into a puffer that doubled as a portable sleeping bag. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "These Celebs Nailed the Art of Airport Style This Year," 28 Nov. 2018 Over the din of portable generators, coughing echoes throughout the camp as the omnipresent wildfire smoke in the air exacerbates health issues like asthma. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The Paradise fire is catastrophic. And the wildfire threat to California is only growing.," 17 Nov. 2018 The design proves, though, that there's no longer a good reason for a portable generator to be an eyesore. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "Turns Out, Hand-Crank Chargers Don't Have to Be Ugly," 9 Nov. 2018 Encased inside these easy-to-use, portable packets, this face peel treatment is ideal for acne-prone and discolored skin, as well as uneven textures, fine lines, and large pores. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "Dermstore’s Massive Labor Day Beauty Sale Has Already Started — Here’s What to Shop," 28 Aug. 2018 That means the company needs to pitch the device (a tablet that most wouldn’t list as a go-to portable gaming device) to a different crowd. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "The iPad Pro isn’t an Xbox competitor, even with console-like specs," 31 Oct. 2018 The Walkman in 1979 set off a revolution in portable electronic devices, with Sony in the lead. Takashi Mochizuki, WSJ, "Sony, Home of the Walkman, Wants Its Status Back in Headphones," 28 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 What's more, making such a laser portable is much harder—even impossible—considering the limits of modern battery tech and the size of the weapon according to the report. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Everything Suspicious About China's Laser Rifle Claims," 9 July 2018 This year the event helped raise money for the new Infusion & Dialysis Center, as well as a portable, real-time imaging system for the Division of Orthopedics. Kelli Stacy, courant.com, "UConn Freshman Christyn Williams Makes Bold National Championship Prediction," 25 June 2018 The portables will be moved to the old Orchard Hill Elementary School, to house Pleasant Valley students during the building project. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "South Windsor Officials Searching For Used Portable Classrooms," 4 June 2018 According to the Sheriff’s Office, a teacher at the neighboring elementary school saw a person with a Nike backpack with what appeared to be a handgun near the middle school portables. Lisa J. Huriash, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Gun scare that locked down 7 schools leads to boy's suspension," 22 Mar. 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

12 Jan 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 \

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

Comments on portable

What made you want to look up portable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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