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

Nothing is more striking than the robots that fetch items from rows and rows of portable shelving. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive.com, "Amazon warehouse in Troutdale: logistical marvels and persistent worker complaints," 6 Aug. 2019 Starting July 1, Ohio City screwed bollards into receptacles on the West 25th Street side of the avenue and placed a portable bike rack on the West 26th Street side. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Ohio City’s Market Avenue street furniture removed as Cleveland rethinks park plan," 5 Aug. 2019 Focused on portable hydration essentials, the line features flower-style stickers to treat pimples, retro cube hair ties, and a sheer balm for chapped lips. Vogue, "Charli Howard Takes Her Inclusive Message Into the World of Beauty," 5 Aug. 2019 Alarmed by dense smoke, shoppers were snapping up portable air purifiers and breathing masks in staggering numbers. Mark Kreidler, Los Angeles Times, "Alarmed by dense wildfire smoke, Californians are snapping up home air purifiers," 5 Aug. 2019 The portable home plate is not the only reminder Oberg uses as motivation. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ Scott Oberg: How the resilient right-hander became a closer," 4 Aug. 2019 Jeff and Brooke Schnorr started a portable photo booth business, The Drifting Dreamers, in their 1963 Volkswagen van. Akira Kyles, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll Biz Challenge: Manchester couple started with an idea, a 56-year-old van and some marketing savvy," 3 Aug. 2019 As of June, owners of 33 vacant apartments in the private marketplace were willing to take federal Section 8 housing vouchers, a type of portable rental assistance, down from 44 apartments a year prior. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "No St. Paul apartments available for families earning $30,000 or less, report finds," 1 Aug. 2019 Moving forward, George and his colleagues hope to create a portable version of the LUKE arm because as of now, the device must be connected to a stationary computer, meaning Walgamott and other test subjects can only use it in the lab. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Robotic Hand Restores Wearer’s Sense of Touch," 26 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Central School - $6 million new cafeteria, new classrooms and removal of all portables. Al.com Staff, al, "Madison County schools digging in on $55 million upgrades," 6 Aug. 2019 Some of the bathrooms are permanent fixtures, while others are portables with two toilets that are trucked in and out. Janie Har, The Mercury News, "San Francisco curbs waste with public toilets, ‘poop patrol’," 2 Aug. 2019 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

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

10 Aug 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

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).


a period when something is suspended

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