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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


2 of 3

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)


3 of 3


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

Recent Examples on the Web
Marie Dionne Warrick was born in 1940 to Pullman porter Mancel Warrick and Lee Drinkard Warrick, who worked at an electrical plant. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2023 Operated by women — including guides, porters, drivers, chefs, and other staff — for women, the seven-day adventure will include stays high in the Andes and cultural experiences such as cooking classes and farm visits that aren’t typical on more popular Inca Trail trips. Travel + Leisure Editors, Travel + Leisure, 16 Nov. 2023 Some Hmong residents see definite downsides, noting that many porters and guides who used to lead hikes up Fansipan are out of work. Patrick Scott, New York Times, 25 Oct. 2023 Advertisement Thousands of cooks, housekeepers, dishwashers, servers, porters and front desk agents at some 60 hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties have been conducting intermittent strikes for nearly four months. Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct. 2023 Colors Available: 1. Buy Now on mr porter: $180 Warmest Thermal Underwear Arc’teryx Rho Heavyweight Thermal Underwear When the climate calls for serious insulation, bring out the big guns. Todd Plummer, Robb Report, 25 Oct. 2023 Amaya works as a day porter at a medical center in Falls Church, Va. Ellie Silverman, Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2023 Virgil was among 53,000 housekeepers, cocktail and food servers, porters, cooks, bartenders and other hotel employees in Las Vegas eligible to participate in the vote. Rio Yamat, Fortune, 27 Sep. 2023 Second Chance Beer also scored twice, taking bronze medals for Fistful of Gummies, a fruited sour, and Tabula Rasa, a robust porter. Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2023
Sang Hnin Lian said Chin people have been used as human shields in war in the past, and forced to porter or guide the military. Helen Regan, CNN, 5 Mar. 2021 See More

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 11 Dec. 2023.

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


2 of 7

biographical name (2)

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


3 of 7

biographical name (3)

Eliot Furness 1901–1990 American photographer


4 of 7

biographical name (4)

Gene 1868–1924 née Stratton American novelist


5 of 7

biographical name (5)

Katherine Anne 1890–1980 American writer


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biographical name (6)

Noah 1811–1892 American philosopher and lexicographer


7 of 7

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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