pro·​por·​tion | \ prə-ˈpȯr-shən How to pronounce proportion (audio) \

Definition of proportion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : harmonious relation of parts to each other or to the whole : balance, symmetry
2a : proper or equal share each did her proportion of the work
3 : the relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity, or degree : ratio
5 : a statement of equality between two ratios in which the first of the four terms divided by the second equals the third divided by the fourth (as in 4/2=10/5) — compare extreme sense 1b, mean sense 1c
in proportion


proportioned; proportioning\ prə-​ˈpȯr-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce proportioning (audio) \

Definition of proportion (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to adjust (a part or thing) in size relative to other parts or things
2 : to make the parts of harmonious or symmetrical

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Examples of proportion in a Sentence

Noun His ears were drawn out of proportion with his head. The size of the window seems out of proportion with the height of the wall.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As mayor, Landrieu argued that the number of judgeships on the court was vastly out of proportion to its actual caseload. Matt Sledge,, "Louisiana law and departures could reshape Orleans Parish Juvenile Court in 2021," 5 Aug. 2020 Artavious Lynn confirmed the team didn't practice Monday, but also said the situation is getting blown out of proportion. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "TCU players spar over racial slur allegations against Gary Patterson," 3 Aug. 2020 The state ranked 12th from the bottom in terms of the proportion of unemployed who were receiving benefits before the crisis. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, "Pandemic exposes gaps in Indiana unemployment insurance program," 2 Aug. 2020 The implicit counter-criticism will be all the more clear if your emphatic gratitude is out of proportion to the action being acknowledged. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: How to respond to a preemptive ‘You’re welcome!’," 30 July 2020 More than one-third, 36%, though, say the threat of the virus has been blown out of proportion. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Joe Biden builds lead over Donald Trump in reliably red Texas, as voters sour on handling of virus," 12 July 2020 But according to multiple defense sources who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity, there is some skepticism and questions as to whether it is being blown out of proportion. Fox News, "Behind the top-secret Russian military intelligence unit accused of paying insurgents to kill Americans in Afghanistan," 3 July 2020 But the narrative is nothing if not exaggerated and blown out of proportion. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Alaska’s Bear Hunting Regulation Changes Aren’t as Sensational as They Sound," 22 June 2020 Black troopers represent about 6% of Tuesday's class — similar to the current make-up of the overall force, and far short of the proportion of Black residents in Michigan's population, which is 14%. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State Police graduates another school of troopers — with only 4 Black recruits," 16 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Rolls doesn't build a torpedo as svelte and as classically proportioned as the DB7 and probably never will. John Phillips, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1996 Aston Martin DB7 Volante Makes the English Sports-Car Brand Relevant Again," 20 May 2020 Like a great restaurant dish, the ingredients are of an unattainable-to-regular-folks quality and proportioned with the ideal balance of flavors and textures. Los Angeles Times, "What We’re Into: The best quarantine snack you can get delivered," 28 Apr. 2020 Dvir originally focused on making sure the triptychs were correctly proportioned. Michael Hardy, Wired, "The Profound Loneliness of New York Subway Platforms," 23 Feb. 2020 Why would any animal be so ridiculously proportioned? Michael B. Habib, Scientific American, "Pterosaurs Were Monsters of the Mesozoic Skies," 1 Oct. 2019 The colors were bright, the texture was soft, the Bavarian cream filling was properly proportioned and evenly distributed. al, "Never buy the last king cake in the store," 20 Jan. 2020 At mile eighty-one of the New York State Thruway, the gray silhouettes of the Catskills come into view, perfectly framed and proportioned. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Art of Dying," 16 Dec. 2019 Mashburn educated herself on portion sizes during her first few months of the diet, paying attention to the serving size on labels and making sure to proportion her snacks and meals accordingly. NBC News, "How one woman lost 95 pounds and still got her Taco Bell fix," 30 Nov. 2019 With the ability to power each wheel individually, electric trucks like this one promise to surpass the capability of four-wheel drive by actively proportioning power to the wheels with the most grip. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Is the Tesla Cybertruck for Real?," 22 Nov. 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for proportion


Middle English proporcion, from Anglo-French, from Latin proportion-, proportio, from pro for + portion-, portio portion — more at for

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Time Traveler for proportion

Time Traveler

The first known use of proportion was in the 14th century

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Statistics for proportion

Last Updated

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Proportion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for proportion


How to pronounce proportion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proportion

: an amount that is a part of a whole
: the relationship that exists between the size, number, or amount of two things
: the correct or appropriate relationship between the size, shape, and position of the different parts of something


pro·​por·​tion | \ prə-ˈpȯr-shən How to pronounce proportion (audio) \

Kids Definition of proportion

1 : the size, number, or amount of one thing or group of things as compared to that of another thing or group of things The proportion of boys to girls in our class is two to one.
2 : a balanced or pleasing arrangement The oversize garage is out of proportion with the house.
3 : a statement of the equality of two ratios (as ⁴/₂ = ¹⁰/₅)
4 : a fair or just share I did my proportion of the work.
5 : size, shape, or extent of something It was a crisis of large proportions.

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