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

Keep scrolling for more

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

In the future, Tesla will have a growing portfolio of products, with no single product accounting for the lion's share of its revenue or profits. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why almost everyone was wrong about Tesla’s cash flow situation," 26 Oct. 2018 Analysts see CA Technologies as a way for Broadcom to acquire a highly profitable mainframe business that would broaden its portfolio, and apply its belt-tightening formula to raise profits. New York Times, "Broadcom Reaches Nearly $19 Billion Deal to Buy CA Technologies," 11 July 2018 Growth in sales at retailers and to commercial customers such as restaurants and food manufacturers was led by incremental sales in McCormick’s Frank’s hot sauce and French’s mustard portfolio, which added 13 percent to the increase. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "McCormick & Co. reports double-digit boost in second quarter sales and profits," 28 June 2018 The 121 individual Gold Key works, 14 Gold Key portfolios, and five American Visions Nominees were sent to New York City for national judging. Elaine Rooker Jack, The Courier-Journal, "13 Louisville-area students win National Scholastic Silver Medals for art," 22 June 2018 In a move that strengthens his music portfolio, the Colombian singer/songwriter is consolidating his relationship with UMLE in an alliance established between GTS and Rebeca Leon's Lionfish Entertainment, according to a spokesperson for UMLE. Justino Aguila, Billboard, "Juanes Enters Record & Co-Management Contract With Universal Music Latin Entertainment: Exclusive," 13 June 2018 Those will broaden Acelity’s wound dressing portfolio, which already includes Promogran Prisma Matrix collagen dressing as well as the Tielle dressing family and Adaptic dressings. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio wound care leader Acelity acquires Crawford Healthcare," 8 June 2018 After all, asset preservation is a major concern for many women who rely on their investment portfolio, plus Social Security, for their retirement income. Andrew Menachem, miamiherald, "Two big challenges facing women in retirement planning," 3 June 2018 To maintain Kamara's diverse portfolio, though, the Saints will have to discover a temporary complement for Ingram. Larry Holder, NOLA.com, "Mark Ingram's suspension a stunning blow for the Saints," 8 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about portfolio

Statistics for portfolio

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for portfolio

The first known use of portfolio was in 1713

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on portfolio

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with portfolio

Spanish Central: Translation of portfolio

Nglish: Translation of portfolio for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of portfolio for Arabic Speakers

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).


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!