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

The first two portable classrooms were placed on the site in 2004, according to school spokesman Brian Bassett. Jess Nocera, Howard County Times, "New snags in planning for a new, or remodeled, Columbia elementary school," 13 July 2018 One stated use for the new network is carrying the heavy data loads needed for portable VR and AR devices. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "AT&T Inks an Exclusive Deal With Secretive Startup Magic Leap," 11 July 2018 The chic portable tubes are incredibly convenient (throw one in your bag and go), sleekly packaged, and can easily serve as not only as a foundation but also in lieu of your usual concealer or contouring wand, too. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "The Best Stick Foundations That Makeup Artists Always Keep in Their Kits," 10 July 2018 Part of the problem might be that dogs have gotten so portable lately. John Kelly, Washington Post, "If your air bag inflates, you don’t want your feet on the dashboard," 9 July 2018 Ilardo used a portable ultrasound machine to gauge spleen size in 59 Bajau people. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Human 'sea nomads' can dive up to 13 minutes — thanks to this DNA mutation, study finds | Miami Herald," 19 Apr. 2018 In early tests, the researchers used a portable radio frequency analyzer attached to a tablet or mobile phone to monitor the frequencies. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Sticking to your diet? This tooth-mounted food sensor could transmit the truth," 24 Mar. 2018 The collection of handmade pieces, all designed to be portable, was inspired by Victorian-era British explorers. Candice Baker Yacono, latimes.com, "Louis Vuitton South Coast Plaza reopens with store-exclusive merchandise," 12 July 2018 And students may be subjected to more unannounced, random searches with portable metal detectors – wands – beginning with the upcoming school year. Sue Kiesewetter, Cincinnati.com, "Hamilton Schools staff can be armed," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Dome Faux'm cream ale, 8th Wonder Brewery's signature, is at various portables on all levels and the Centerfield Market. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "A drinker's guide to the beer and booze options at Minute Maid Park," 11 Apr. 2018 During this time, students will likely use portables — Holmes High School at the moment has 14 for this very reason. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "Northside ISD’s bond issue anticipates continuing growth," 28 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

19 Oct 2018

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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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