por·​tal | \ ˈpȯr-tᵊl How to pronounce portal (audio) \

Definition of portal

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : door, entrance especially : a grand or imposing one
2 : the whole architectural composition surrounding and including the doorways and porches of a church
3 : the approach or entrance to a bridge or tunnel
4 : a communicating part or area of an organism specifically : the point at which something (such as a pathogen) enters the body
5 : a website serving as a guide or point of entry to the World Wide Web and usually including a search engine or a collection of links to other sites arranged especially by topic



Definition of portal (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of or relating to the transverse fissure on the underside of the liver where most of the vessels enter
2 : of, relating to, or being a portal vein or a portal system portal circulation


biographical name
Por·​tal | \ ˈpȯr-tᵊl How to pronounce Portal (audio) \

Definition of Portal (Entry 3 of 3)

Charles Frederick Algernon 1893–1971 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford British air marshal

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Synonyms for portal

Synonyms: Noun

door, gate, hatch

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Examples of portal in a Sentence


a Web portal for baseball fans the main portal to the estate is an elaborate wrought iron gate on the side facing the road

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chat provides an immediate portal into your past in a way that a photo doesn’t. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A looming strike over Project Dragonfly is putting new pressure on Google," 30 Nov. 2018 That is, until a new monster arrives, gross and toothy, and everyone remembers that Hawkins is both classic small-town America and a raging portal to hell. Vogue, "Stranger Things 3 Is a Teenage Wasteland," 20 Mar. 2019 Many health insurance companies will automatically connect a minor’s portal to the policyholder’s, which can allow the policyholder to view all of the minor’s claims. Mattie Quinn, SELF, "How to Get Birth Control and STI Testing If You’re on Your Parent’s Insurance," 5 Dec. 2018 That’s nothing new at the Kentucky Derby, and the voice of Doris Burke has become increasingly familiar to fans of the NBA, opening a portal that people such as Kara Lawson have since passed through. Sam Donnellon, Philly.com, "A.J. Mleczko, NHL broadcasting pioneer, leaves chauvinists little to complain about," 8 May 2018 This will be great for things like placing virtual furniture against a wall in a house, hanging a picture on a wall, or opening a portal to another dimension in your doorway. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google’s ARCore 1.2 enables multiplayer AR across Android and iOS," 8 May 2018 Loki uses the Tesseract to open a portal between Earth and space and conjures an alien army and a giant space snake to attack New York City in is now known as the Battle of New York. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Avengers: Infinity War Is Almost Here. Here’s What to Know About the Marvel Cinematic Universe Before You Go," 23 Apr. 2018 The California Highway patrol shut down the lane of traffic, and sanitation workers opened the portal. Laura J. Nelson, latimes.com, "Video revealed boy's handprints deep in L.A. sewer system, leading to his rescue," 3 Apr. 2018 The Central European Press and Media Foundation’s assets will include cable news channels, internet news portals, tabloid and sports newspapers and all of Hungary’s county newspapers, several radio stations and numerous magazines, among others. Pablo Gorondi, The Seattle Times, "Huge pro-government media conglomerate formed in Hungary," 28 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Embark has the most robust online portal, including the option to connect with your dog's relatives. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "I Tried the Most Popular Dog DNA Tests to Find the Best One," 22 May 2019 Gradually, your new world will fill up with dancing silhouettes and animals, which all coalesce to form a main hieroglyph that will unlock a portal to space. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Childish Gambino’s Pharos AR app unlocks a hidden universe of battery-draining beats and beasts," 24 Apr. 2019 The Labor Department received nearly 100,000 temporary worker visa requests in the first five minutes of New Year’s Day, an unprecedented demand that caused the online submissions portal to crash, the government said Wednesday. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "Government Visa Website Sidelined by Record Demand," 2 Jan. 2019 Also in July, the share of price cuts on active listings in Orange County was 22%, up from 18% the previous July, according to listings portal Realtor.com. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Warren Buffett Slashes Price on Longtime Beach House," 24 Aug. 2018 That has been the case in Atlanta, where attackers proactively took down their payment portal after local media publicly exposed the address, resulting in a flood of inquiries, with law enforcement like the FBI close behind. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "The Ransomware That Hobbled Atlanta Will Strike Again," 30 Mar. 2018 Sabine Schmidtke of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., the portal aims to preserve, study and make available online the rich patrimony of Zaydi texts. Christian C. Sahner, WSJ, "Yemen’s Threatened Cultural Heritage," 25 Dec. 2018 All of the galleries have portal holes that filter sunlight from above into the underground space. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Otherworldly new museum is built into a sand dune," 17 Dec. 2018 In fact, the pieces are set apart, decisively framed on the wall, edged by light and lines, creating portal-like spaces that don’t really lead anywhere or take us out of the actuality of looking. Gayle Clemans, The Seattle Times, "Artists at Winston Wächter gallery construct enticing ‘Summer Dreams’," 30 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'portal.' 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 portal


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1754, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for portal


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin portale city gate, porch, from neuter of portalis of a gate, from Latin porta gate — more at port


New Latin porta transverse fissure of the liver, from Latin, gate

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Learn More about portal

Dictionary Entries near portal







portal system

Statistics for portal

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for portal

The first known use of portal was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for portal



English Language Learners Definition of portal

formal + literary : a large door or gate to a building (such as a church)
computers : a Web site that helps you find other sites


por·​tal | \ ˈpȯr-tᵊl How to pronounce portal (audio) \

Kids Definition of portal

: a large or fancy door or gate


por·​tal | \ ˈpȯrt-ᵊl How to pronounce portal (audio) \

Medical Definition of portal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a communicating part or area of an organism: as
b : the point at which something enters the body portals of infection



Medical Definition of portal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to the porta hepatis
2 : of, relating to, or being a portal vein or a portal system portal blood portal circulation

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More from Merriam-Webster on portal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with portal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for portal

Spanish Central: Translation of portal

Nglish: Translation of portal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of portal for Arabic Speakers

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