pro·​por·​tion·​al | \ prə-ˈpȯr-shnəl How to pronounce proportional (audio) , -shə-nᵊl \

Definition of proportional

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a number or quantity in a proportion



Definition of proportional (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : corresponding in size, degree, or intensity
b : having the same or a constant ratio corresponding sides of similar triangles are proportional
2 : regulated or determined in size or degree with reference to proportions a proportional system of immigration quotas a proportional font/typeface [=a font/typeface with characters of various widths]

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Other Words from proportional


proportionality \ prə-​ˌpȯr-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce proportionality (audio) \ noun
proportionally \ prə-​ˈpȯr-​shnə-​lē How to pronounce proportionally (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for proportional

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of proportional in a Sentence

Adjective The features of the face in the drawing are proportional. the Web site's popularity increased exponentially, resulting in a proportional increase in advertising revenue
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Kelly called for a proportional response against Russia, perhaps in the form of economic action or sanctions. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Arizona Republic, "Mark Kelly calls for investigation into Trump's handling of possible Russian bounties," 3 July 2020 Tracking technology could work, but only if its proportional application could be cryptographically guaranteed—if, that is, the original technology was underwritten by further technology. Gideon Lewis-kraus, Wired, "How to Make Government Trustworthy Again," 18 June 2020 The makeup of the Chicago police force today is not proportional to the demographics of the city as a whole, with a greater share of white officers than city residents. Mark Nichols, USA TODAY, "Should police officers be required to live in the cities they patrol? There's no evidence it matters," 14 June 2020 Respond to negative behavior honestly, delivering reasonable and proportional consequences. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Post-COVID-19 dating will reveal much," 11 June 2020 Respond to negative behavior honestly, delivering reasonable and proportional consequences. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: What might post-Covid dating look like?," 11 June 2020 If anything, the U.S. is now spending more, proportional to the size of its population, on its safety net for the unemployed. Alec Macgillis, ProPublica, "How Germany Saved Its Workforce From Unemployment While Spending Less Per Person Than the U.S.," 3 June 2020 Part of the responsibility is for all of us in the media to keep things proportional. The Atlantic, "Listen: Is America Going to Make It?," 30 May 2020 The fact that delegates are awarded to the winner of Democratic primaries and caucuses on a proportional rather than a winner-take-all basis makes the math for taking Sanders out even more difficult. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "The Democratic establishment is out of time," 12 Feb. 2020

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


1570, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for proportional

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for proportional

Cite this Entry

“Proportional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of proportional

: having a size, number, or amount that is directly related to or appropriate for something
: having parts that are the correct or appropriate size in relation to each other


pro·​por·​tion·​al | \ prə-ˈpȯr-shə-nəl How to pronounce proportional (audio) \

Kids Definition of proportional

: having a direct relationship to something in size, number, or amount The children received allowances proportional to their ages.

Other Words from proportional

proportionally adverb

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