pro·​por·​tion·​al | \prə-ˈpȯr-shnəl, -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

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Other Words from proportional


proportionality \prə-​ˌpȯr-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē \ noun
proportionally \prə-​ˈpȯr-​shnə-​lē, -​shə-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for proportional

Synonyms: Adjective

commensurable, commensurate, proportionate

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of proportional in a Sentence


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

Ferrell seemed to live his life as if to refute the notion that academic success is proportional to the narrowness of one’s field of study. James Grant, WSJ, "Robert H. Ferrell, a Historian of Breadth and Clarity," 17 Aug. 2018 Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation tells us that a planet’s gravitational force is proportional to its mass. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Been Wrong Before: The Expanding Earth Theory," 3 Aug. 2018 This equation says that the square of the angular velocity should be proportional to one divided by the length of the string. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "The Physics of Swinging a Mass on a String for Fun," 9 May 2018 Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three each state are proportional to the number of voters in each state. Fox News, "Fox News Poll 07/13/18," 12 July 2018 With a 1944 population of only 3,200 residents, Bedford, Virginia, lost 23 young men in this single campaign, giving it the highest proportional loss of any town in America for the D-Day invasion. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Dems doing what it takes to win," 7 June 2018 Our data suggest that more people of color and women are using dockless bikes than [Capital Bikeshare] on a proportional basis. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, "Are dockless bikeshare systems changing Washington’s biking culture?," 2 June 2018 The system is broadly, though not entirely, proportional. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 But any stake sale involves the partners giving up a proportional stream of future income. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "How Private Equity Firms Are Solving Their Growth Problem," 12 July 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

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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 \

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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Comments on proportional

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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