noun (1)
por·​ter | \ ˈpȯr-tər \

Definition of porter

 (Entry 1 of 9)

chiefly British
: a person stationed at a door or gate to admit or assist those entering


noun (2)

Definition of porter (Entry 2 of 9)

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


portered; portering; porters

Definition of porter (Entry 3 of 9)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to act as a porter


biographical name (1)
Por·​ter | \ ˈpȯr-tər \

Definition of Porter (Entry 4 of 9)

Cole Albert 1891–1964 American songwriter


biographical name (2)

Definition of Porter (Entry 5 of 9)

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


biographical name (3)

Definition of Porter (Entry 6 of 9)

Gene 1868–1924 née Stratton American novelist


biographical name (4)

Definition of Porter (Entry 7 of 9)

Katherine Anne 1890–1980 American writer


biographical name (5)

Definition of Porter (Entry 8 of 9)

Noah 1811–1892 American philosopher and lexicographer


biographical name (6)

Definition of Porter (Entry 9 of 9)

William Sydney 1862–1910 pseudonym O. Henry \ (ˈ)ō-​ˈhen-​rē \ American short-story writer

First Known Use of porter

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

History and Etymology for porter

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about porter

Statistics for porter

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for porter

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for porter


por·​ter | \ ˈpȯr-tər \

Kids Definition of porter

1 : a person whose job is to carry baggage (as at a hotel)
2 : a person whose job is helping passengers on a train

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on porter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with porter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for porter

Spanish Central: Translation of porter

Nglish: Translation of porter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of porter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on porter

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


someone who never drinks alcohol

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!