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 Starting in the late 1970s, Mr. Sillerman built a portfolio of radio and television stations worth nearly $1 billion. Ben Sisario, New York Times, "Robert F.X. Sillerman Dies at 71; Built Entertainment Empires," 28 Nov. 2019 The wall adds to Kushner's growing portfolio of responsibilities, which some of his critics have said border on comical. Author: Josh Dawsey, Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump demand for pre-election progress on border wall means 800 filings to seize property needed," 26 Nov. 2019 Offshore wind is supposed to be a key piece of a growing portfolio of renewable energy in Maryland. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Wind turbines off Ocean City would be 200 feet taller than planned, prompting regulators to reopen debate," 14 Nov. 2019 By the time the younger George W. Bush ran for president, Sondland was established in Portland as a developer of portfolio of trendy, historic hotels. oregonlive, "Gordon Sondland had influence on Capitol Hill long before he became ambassador, campaign contributions show," 8 Nov. 2019 Speaking in Tokyo, Mr Son put on a defiant display and insisted that SoftBank has a valuable portfolio of tech assets that the outside world does not appreciate. The Economist, "Hard times for SoftBank," 7 Nov. 2019 At the district level, Denver’s Susana Cordova has seamlessly built on the progress of Tom Boasberg, who over a decade built a diverse, high-quality portfolio of schools that have made his one of the few large urban districts gaining students. Arne Duncan, Twin Cities, "Arne Duncan: The nation’s report card offers lessons," 7 Nov. 2019 Some others replied with the rap and poetry portfolios of their own children, too. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Aspiring Young Rapper's Song About Her Hamster Fluffy Contains Multitudes," 22 Oct. 2019 Murdoch this year created Lupa Systems as an investment vehicle to assemble a new portfolio of media companies, using his $2 billion in proceeds from the $71-billion sale of most of his family’s 21st Century Fox empire to Walt Disney Co. Los Angeles Times, "James Murdoch buys stake in Vice Media," 10 Oct. 2019

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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Portfolio.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portfolio. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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)

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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).


a period of high artistic development

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