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 The result has been a turnaround of epic proportions. Mitch Stephens,, "Piner playing at full speed — and will not slow down," 10 Oct. 2019 The Great Bingo Revival What began as a humble game of Bingo ended in a twerking dance-off of epic proportions. Morena Duwe, Billboard, "Breakdancing, Bingo & Bass: The 10 Best Moments of Dirtybird Campout West Coast 2019," 7 Oct. 2019 But fighting the fire to keep it from spreading meant crossing the border that Alpha had marked, and the episode ended with a stare-down of epic proportions between Alpha and Carol. Dalton Ross,, "The Walking Dead showrunner explains the season premiere trip to space," 7 Oct. 2019 That means the next CEO of Waystar Royco will almost certainly have a raging dumpster fire of epic proportions on their hands; if Shiv wants rid of Rhea Jarrell, what better way than letting her deal with the fallout? Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "‘Succession’ Recap, S2E8: Bad Buzz," 30 Sep. 2019 Misogyny and sexism are catastrophes of epic proportions. Glamour, "No One Asked About Abortion. With Kirsten Gillibrand Out of the Race, No One Brought It Up, Either," 13 Sep. 2019 Io’s powerful eruptions can produce plumes of epic proportions, sometimes reaching heights of 300 miles. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "This is our best look yet at the solar system's most volcanic object," 18 July 2019 Minotaar by Lissa Treiman Dena and Mel embark on a mission of epic proportions: visiting the byzantine halls of IKOS in order to retrieve the flat-pack bookshelf of Dena's dreams after some meatballs, of course. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "Indie Comics Publisher ShortBox Reveals Upcoming Slate (Exclusive)," 15 July 2019 Scott Disick, a reformed Kardashian boyfriend of epic disappointing proportions, comes in with words of wisdom that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago. Ariana Romero,, "KUWTK Reveals The Real Reason The Kardashians & Jordyn Woods Are Feuding," 25 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Scientists first became aware of the okapi, which has a long tongue and legs proportioned like those of a giraffe, at the turn of the 20th century. National Geographic, "Unique anatomy sets giraffe apart in the animal kingdom," 20 Sep. 2019 In the meat industry, the carcass balancing problem describes how animal bodies are not proportioned to the ratios of products that humans actually demand. Liz Specht, WIRED, "Alt-Meat Trounces Animal Meat's Massive Inefficiencies," 19 Aug. 2019 My body is proportioned in whatever way society thinks is redeemable. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Barbie Ferreira Is Ready for More ‘Hot and Secure’ Fat Girls on TV," 4 Aug. 2019 Again, Charles’s tuxedo is properly proportioned, perhaps in part a function of his wearing this sort of formalwear more regularly. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Analysis: What’s with Trump’s suits? Asking a tailor," 4 June 2019 Sunspel’s well-proportioned V that doesn’t plunge into clavicle territory is a safe, confident choice. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "The War Over T-Shirt Necklines: V vs. Crew," 22 Aug. 2018 In essence, the approach lets Peach look a little less Barbie-proportioned. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nintendo reveals it invented “Bowsette” before the Internet did," 28 Sep. 2018 This new map, created by a trio of researchers from across the U.S. and Australia, improves on the design of the Robinson projection by preserving its aesthetic appeal while also correctly proportioning the continents. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Feast Your Eyes on "Equal Earth," the New and More Accurate World Map," 5 Sep. 2018 The styles of these eleven pieces vary — some are formally proportioned, others fantasy-like. Peter Dobrin,, "Paul Lewis closes Philadelphia Chamber Music Society piano series," 11 May 2018

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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Statistics for proportion

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for proportion

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

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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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Comments on proportion

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


to spread as a report or rumor

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