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

Its sleek rectangular design is also surprisingly portable for car camping trips. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The 10 Best Portable Fire Pits to Build a Campfire Anywhere," 6 May 2019 Meticulously assembled by artisans such as those from the Vatican Mosaic Workshop (which is still active today), these micromosaics were easily portable and made from small glass tiles that wouldn’t fade and... Rebecca Malinsky, WSJ, "This Old-Timey Jewelry Is a Great Conversation Starter," 19 Apr. 2019 The trend for self-perfection has birthed apps (FaceTune), portable lighting (Lumee Cases), and a trend in plastic surgery to realign noses and eyebrows and eyeballs to a more pleasing digital ratio. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "“Fashion For Bank Robbers” Is an Insta-Obsession for the Anti-Selfie Set," 17 Apr. 2019 Unlike the Surface Studio, though, the Predator Triton 900 is portable. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Acer's swivel-display Predator Triton 900 will include Nvidia's mobile RTX graphics," 6 Jan. 2019 Throughout the trip, the device in his pocket—the size of a portable hard drive, all black, with a single button on the center of one side and a blinking blue LED light above it—remained silent. Dan Dubno, Popular Mechanics, "This Tiny Device Can Detect Nuclear Armageddon," 25 Apr. 2019 And the result—a portable, tabletop fire bowl perfect for both dessert and decor—is sweeping the nation. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "A DIY Tabletop Fire Pit Is All You Need to Make Your Summer Dreams Come True," 11 Apr. 2019 The product in question (which is worth mentioning is a new favorite in our skin-care editor's lineup) is a portable, moisturizing version of Glow Tonic that can be used on the face, lips, body, and even hair. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Pixi Beauty Just Dropped an On-the-Glow Stick Version of Its Best-Selling Glow Tonic," 7 Mar. 2019 For someone who may need to take their stuff on the go, a portable solid state drive like the Samsung T5 is a noticeably faster and more reliable way to move around files than a traditional hard disk drive. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—good tech for the power user in your life," 4 Dec. 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

18 May 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).


something valued as if it were money

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