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 proportion (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 In the United States, the proportion of adults in the middle bands of the income spectrum — which the Pew Research Center defines as roughly between $50,000 and $150,000 — declined to 51 percent in 2019 from 61 percent 50 years ago., "Biden’s proposals aim to give sturdier support to the middle class," 2 May 2021 For many, this is alarming given that a large proportion of Indians—nearly 50%— do not have access to the internet. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, "India’s Covid-19 vaccine program has glaring data and communication issues," 28 Apr. 2021 Taxonomists say that a small but significant proportion of organisms—perhaps as much as 20 percent—are edge cases, where even professionals sometimes disagree on classification. Zach St. George, Harper's Magazine, "Birds of a Feather," 27 Apr. 2021 The proportion of Black troopers, less than 6%, has languished since 2015. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "What's next to fix policing in Michigan after the verdicts in George Floyd's murder trial?," 25 Apr. 2021 Mexicans represented the largest proportion of people encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol, and nearly all were single adults. Alexandra Jaffe, The Christian Science Monitor, "Central America forms alliance to bring US border under control," 13 Apr. 2021 Only two countries, Israel and the Seychelles, have vaccinated a (slightly) higher proportion of people, but both took months to do so (see chart). The Economist, "One-week wonder Bhutan vaccinated almost all adults against covid-19 in a week," 10 Apr. 2021 People in their late teens, 20s and 30s are requesting appointments in numbers that are roughly in line with their overall proportion of the county population, Tzvieli said. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "What can California expect when vaccination open season starts April 15? Ask Contra Costa County," 9 Apr. 2021 As the pandemic went on, the authors wrote, the proportion of patients who were white increased, comprising 20 percent of all cases. New York Times, "Many Children With Serious Inflammatory Syndrome Had No Covid Symptoms," 6 Apr. 2021 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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Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Proportion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for proportion



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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