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 data firm Womply found that the proportion of bars that are closed in Texas, Florida, Tennessee and some other states started climbing last week after having declined fairly steadily since April or early May. Author: Paul Wiseman, Travis Loller, Kelli Kennedy, Anchorage Daily News, "As virus roars back in US, so do signs of a new round of layoffs," 30 June 2020 Senators also approved and sent back to the House, this time with a 29-9 vote, a measure to increase the proportion of sales tax collections businesses are allowed to keep from .935 percent and 1.1 percent. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, "Louisiana Senate approve 2 more tax benefits for businesses," 29 June 2020 The proportion of water to rice has a big impact on whether the dish is a hit or miss. cleveland, "How to make a perfect pot of rice in a saucepan, Instant Pot or automatic cooker," 29 June 2020 The proportion is much larger than the group's 18% share of the population. Michaela Chesin, The Arizona Republic, "'I’ve gone through so much pain already': Latino COVID-19 rates continue to rise," 28 June 2020 The rate of infection in most of the Bay Area is still relatively low compared to parts of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, and the proportion of tests that come back positive is below the state average in most counties. Joaquin Palomino,, "With coronavirus cases surging across California, where can the Bay Area look for answers?," 28 June 2020 But the proportion of tests coming back positive is growing significantly faster than testing. oregonlive, "191 new cases reported Tuesday, including new outbreak at food processor in Umatilla County: Coronavirus in Oregon," 23 June 2020 Perhaps the real threat, now, is not simply the fact that a significant proportion of us might never form traditional families, but the prospect that some of us might prefer not to. Laurie Penny, Wired, "Live Wrong and Prosper: Covid-19 and the Future of Families," 18 June 2020 There was this recent study from Hong Kong that found that super spreading contributes to a significant proportion of the Covid-19 cases. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Super Spreaders: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's coronavirus podcast for June 18," 18 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

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Proportion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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