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noun (1)

por·​ter ˈpȯr-tər How to pronounce porter (audio)
plural porters
chiefly British
: a person stationed at a door or gate to admit or assist those entering


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noun (2)

plural porters
: a person who carries burdens
especially : one employed to carry baggage for patrons at a hotel or transportation terminal
: a parlor-car or sleeping-car attendant who waits on passengers and makes up berths
[short for porter's beer] : a heavy dark brown ale typically brewed from browned or charred malt
: a person who does routine cleaning (as in a hospital or office)


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portered; portering; porters

transitive verb

: to transport or carry as or as if by a porter

intransitive verb

: to act as a porter

Examples of porter in a Sentence

Noun (1) he generously tipped the porter for hailing a taxi
Recent Examples on the Web
But Jackson wouldn’t leave Georgia, instead joining a number of freedmen who stayed in the Savannah area and found jobs as porters, housekeepers, and dockworkers. Essence, 18 June 2024 White management likely turned to Black workers for caddie jobs because the occupation closely mirrored many other service roles fulfilled by African Americans, such as porters, attendants, and domestic servants. Craig Gill / Made By History, TIME, 13 June 2024 In hotels, leave two to three euros per night for housekeeping, and tip porters approximately one euro per bag. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 13 June 2024 To recognize the history of African Americans, the park service recently launched a study to add lynching sites in Tennessee; an Ohio stop on the Underground Railroad and an Illinois exhibition on the role Pullman porters played in creating the Black middle class. Lauren Villagran, USA TODAY, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for porter 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'porter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin portarius, from Latin porta gate — more at port

Noun (2)

Middle English portour, from Anglo-French porteour, from Late Latin portator, from Latin portare to carry — more at fare

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1609, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of porter was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near porter

Cite this Entry

“Porter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/porter. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
por·​ter ˈpōrt-ər How to pronounce porter (audio)
chiefly British


2 of 2 noun
: a person who carries baggage (as at a hotel)
: a railroad employee who waits on passengers
: a dark heavy ale

Biographical Definition

Porter 1 of 7

biographical name (1)

Por·​ter ˈpȯr-tər How to pronounce Porter (audio)
Cole Albert 1891–1964 American songwriter


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biographical name (2)

David 1780–1843 and his son David Dixon 1813–1891 American naval officers


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biographical name (3)

Eliot Furness 1901–1990 American photographer


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biographical name (4)

Gene 1868–1924 née Stratton American novelist


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biographical name (5)

Katherine Anne 1890–1980 American writer


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biographical name (6)

Noah 1811–1892 American philosopher and lexicographer


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biographical name (7)

William Sydney 1862–1910 pseudonym O. Henry (ˈ)ō-ˈhen-rē How to pronounce Porter (audio) American short-story writer

More from Merriam-Webster on porter

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