por·​tal | \ˈpȯr-tᵊl \

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 \

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

Brute force attacks on RDP login portals are common, often aided by easily available tools. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Hackers caught selling access to airport security systems for $10," 11 July 2018 But these portals transport you, indeed, to another world. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Brutalist concrete home intrigues in Mexico," 29 May 2018 In the esoteric words of Virtual Self, enter the utopian gate via this sonic portal below, or something like that. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Porter Robinson Debuts New Virtual Self Remix of 'Ghost Voices' at EDC Vegas: Watch," 23 May 2018 All lender and title closing documents were executed electronically leveraging the Notarize Closing portal. Houston Chronicle, "Stewart completes its first fully digital online closing in Texas," 8 July 2018 Further complicating the reunification effort: The HHS case-management portal wasn’t designed to facilitate reunification with parents. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Trump Administration Seeks More Time to Reunite Families Separated at Border," 6 July 2018 Effective immediately, passengers booked on the A380, like on the popular New York-JFK to Dubai route, can book their seats within the 3D portal by accessing the airline's website on their mobile devices or through the Emirates app. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "You Can Now Choose Your Seat on Emirates Using Virtual Reality," 5 July 2018 One of the most popular ideas floating around is that the portals will involve time travel of some sort. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Fortnite’s new rifts are slowly consuming the map," 2 July 2018 The plot follows the USS Enterprise crew as they are sucked through a time portal back to 1930s New York City. Kyle Swenson, BostonGlobe.com, "Harlan Ellison, science fiction master, dies at age 84," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

No longer merely the portal to nearby Niagara Falls, Buffalo is a modern and multifaceted city, more than ready for its moment. Amy Thomas, New York Times, "36 Hours in Buffalo," 28 June 2018 Kids and teetotalers can opt for mystic portal punch, which has lemon-lime and tangerine flavors with Powerade Mountain Berry Blast. Dewayne Bevil, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Disney: Comfort food fills Woody's Lunch Box at Toy Story Land," 28 June 2018 While Apple users could previously access many of the privacy features either online or by calling AppleCare, the portal puts all the tools together in one place, making them that much simpler to get to. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "What does Apple know about you? EU privacy site makes it easier for some customers to find out," 23 May 2018 Real estate portal Zillow, another new economy trailblazer, faces millions in additional tax burden. Travis H. Brown, Fortune, "How Seattle’s New Tax to Fight Homelessness Could Ruin its Economy," 17 May 2018 The child’s bed assignment passes back through the portal to Border Patrol, which is responsible for transferring the child to a facility. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "How a Child Moves Through a Broken Immigration System," 20 June 2018 The site has also become a portal for thousands of families looking to connect. Julia Terruso, Philly.com, "After Trump-Kim summit, Philly-area family asking 'What about my brother' could finally get an answer," 20 June 2018 Facebook Watch, the social network's dedicated video destination, will also soon become a portal where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings, and other content exclusive to the service, Hardiman said. Alyssa Newcomb /, NBC News, "Facebook 'trending' section is dead as company offers new approach to breaking news," 1 June 2018 Extra Perks 25 percent off airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises when you book through Chase’s rewards portal. Janna Irons, Outside Online, "The 5 Best Travel Credit Cards," 30 May 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

8 Nov 2018

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

: 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 \

Kids Definition of portal

: a large or fancy door or gate


por·​tal | \ˈpȯrt-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of portal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a communicating part or area of an organism: as

a : portal vein

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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Comments on portal

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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