port·​fo·​lio | \ pȯrt-ˈfō-lē-ˌō How to pronounce portfolio (audio) \
plural portfolios

Definition of portfolio

1 : a hinged cover or flexible case for carrying loose papers, pictures, or pamphlets
2 [from the use of such a case to carry documents of state] : the office and functions of a minister of state or member of a cabinet
3 : the securities held by an investor : the commercial paper held by a financial house (such as a bank)
4 : a set of pictures (such as drawings or photographs) usually bound in book form or loose in a folder
5 : a selection of a student's work (such as papers and tests) compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress

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Did You Know?

Portfolio is partly based on the Latin folium, meaning "leaf, sheet". A portfolio usually represents a portable showcase of your talents. Today actual portfolios are used less than they used to be by artists, since most commercial artists have a Web site dedicated to showing off their art. But portfolio in its other common meaning is extremely common. Not so long ago, a broker would keep each of his or her clients' investments in a separate notebook or portfolio. Today the investment portfolio, like an artist's portfolio, usually takes the form of a Web page, even though everyone still uses the same old word.

Examples of portfolio in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Caltrans now holds a real estate portfolio of modest bungalows, Craftsman mansions and, most famously, the Pasadena childhood home of chef Julia Child, which has been empty for 35 years. Los Angeles Times, "Activists wield bolt cutters in a tense L.A. neighborhood as poor families seize empty homes," 23 Dec. 2020 The portfolio of lab buildings, which Blackstone is buying from Brookfield Asset Management, consists of 2.3 million square feet of space. Peter Grant, WSJ, "Blackstone Raises Wager on Life Sciences With $3.5 Billion Property Deal," 14 Dec. 2020 Two of the most valuable companies in the firm’s portfolio, Airbnb Inc. and DoorDash Inc., will hold initial public offerings this week. Katie Roof, Bloomberg.com, "Sequoia Capital Warned of a ‘Black Swan.’ Instead, 2020 Is One of Its Best Years Ever," 6 Dec. 2020 That means either way, Kobalt Capital still has a substantial portfolio, one either with plenty of songs or plenty of cash that can afford to buy plenty of copyrights. Ed Christman, Billboard, "After Hipgnosis' Purchase of 33,000 Songs, What's Next for Kobalt Music Group?," 10 Nov. 2020 As USA Today noted, the new roles fit nicely within William’s portfolio of work, which includes his work alongside his brother, Harry, with United for Wildlife. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "The Queen Just Gave Prince William Two New Important Jobs," 20 Oct. 2020 But the company has cornered something that has proved elusive to companies in the best of times, but especially during a pandemic: a broad, diversified portfolio that has churned out predictable earnings. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Keurig is a machine: How the beverage giant is leveraging A.I. to fuel growth," 19 Oct. 2020 Still, that shouldn't make a big difference for investors with a diversified, long-term portfolio. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "How to election-proof your portfolio," 16 Oct. 2020 Since then Atis’s work has fueled innovation across L’Oréal’s portfolio of brands—L’Oréal Paris, IT Cosmetics, Urban Decay, and Giorgio Armani all have wide spectrums, with Lancôme topping out at 50 shades under the Teint Idole line. Crystal Martin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Black Scientists, Doctors, and Entrepreneurs Changing The Beauty Industry," 7 Oct. 2020

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

1713, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for portfolio

Italian portafoglio, from portare to carry (from Latin) + foglio leaf, sheet, from Latin folium — more at blade

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Time Traveler for portfolio

Time Traveler

The first known use of portfolio was in 1713

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Statistics for portfolio

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Portfolio.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portfolio. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for portfolio


How to pronounce portfolio (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of portfolio

: a flat case for carrying documents or drawings
: a set of drawings, paintings, or photographs that are presented together in a folder
finance : the investments that are owned by a person or organization


port·​fo·​lio | \ pȯrt-ˈfō-lē-ˌō How to pronounce portfolio (audio) \
plural portfolios

Kids Definition of portfolio

1 : a flat case for carrying papers or drawings
2 : a collection of art (as paintings) presented together in a folder


port·​fo·​lio | \ pōrt-ˈfō-lē-ō How to pronounce portfolio (audio) \

Legal Definition of portfolio

: the securities held by an investor : the commercial paper held by a financial institution (as a bank)

More from Merriam-Webster on portfolio

Nglish: Translation of portfolio for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of portfolio for Arabic Speakers

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