port·fo·lio | \pȯrt-ˈfō-lē-ˌō \
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

With Embraer's smaller planes, Boeing's portfolio would span the breadth of the commercial market, from 70 to 450 seats. Julie Johnsson And Fabiola Moura, chicagotribune.com, "Boeing's $4.75 billion Embraer deal leaves long to-do list," 6 July 2018 Above, Valade shares a dreamy photo portfolio from the weekend. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Bikes, Beaches, and Bikinis: Inside Aymeline Valade’s Envy-Inducing Trip to Saint Tropez," 2 July 2018 Credit costs meanwhile remained mild, with the net charge-off rate declining from the prior quarter for both banks’ credit-card portfolios. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Investors Are Ignoring the Good News in Banks," 13 July 2018 The city tapped renowned architect David Adjaye, whose portfolio spans several notable works in multiple continents, to design the blueprint. Lisa Maria Garza, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Couples married before 'Pinterest age' set to renew vows in farewell to Winter Park civic center," 12 July 2018 The company, bought by Scott in 2005 for an undisclosed price, was one of the largest assets in the millionaire governor's portfolio. Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Rick Scott and family made $550M in one transaction. How 'blind' is his blind trust?," 11 July 2018 Now the question is whether Groupon will continue on its way as an independent company or within a larger player's portfolio. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Groupon reportedly shopping around for a buyer," 9 July 2018 Wind and solar, for example, make up about 7.6 percent of the country’s power portfolio. Joshua Emerson Smith, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Fearing climate change, experts in San Diego warn U.S. nuclear industry faces collapse," 7 July 2018 The company has submitted also its portfolio coverage approach to Canadian officials, the Vertex spokeswoman added. Ed Silverman, BostonGlobe.com, "Vertex, U.K. health officials at impasse over pricey cystic fibrosis drug," 5 July 2018

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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Statistics for portfolio

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for portfolio

The first known use of portfolio was in 1713

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More Definitions for portfolio



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 \
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 \

Legal Definition of portfolio 

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

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Comments on portfolio

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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