ra·​tion | \ˈra-shən, ˈrā- \

Definition of ration 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a food allowance for one day

b rations plural : food, provisions

2 : a share especially as determined by supply


rationed; rationing\ˈra-​sh(ə-​)niŋ, ˈrā-​ \

Definition of ration (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to supply with or put on rations

2a : to distribute as rations often used with out

b : to distribute equitably

c : to use sparingly

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Examples of ration in a Sentence


The soldiers were given their rations for the day. The horse was fed its ration of oats. weekly sugar and butter rations


During the war, the government rationed gasoline. the region has had to ration water during times of drought
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Seahawks’ balanced attack produced 331 total yards of offense with a run-pass ration of 31 to 26. Seattle Times Sports Staff, The Seattle Times, "What the national media are saying about the Seahawks’ win in Arizona that lost them Earl Thomas," 1 Oct. 2018 Punishments can include forfeiture of pay, extra duty, reduction in grade, confinement in military jail, bread and water or decreased food rations. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "10 Significant Moments You Missed From 'This Is Us' Last Night," 17 Oct. 2018 An Indonesian teenager, who worked on a floating fish trap 80 miles off the country's coast, survived 49 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean with only a Bible, limited rations and a small radio, reports said Monday. Edmund Demarche, Fox News, "Indonesian teen survives 49 days adrift without paddle, but with Bible: report," 24 Sep. 2018 But that has turned into despair as public hospitals run out of drugs and private pharmacies, like many other businesses, close down while supermarkets ration items such as bottled water and beer. Farai Mutsaka, The Seattle Times, "Zimbabwe opposition leader seeks dialogue on economic crisis," 23 Oct. 2018 Even the camp doctors were awed by a few refugees who doused their own hemorrhoids with hot sauce from the tiny Tabasco bottles that came with their military rations. Brenda Medina And Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, "Trump dialed it up to 10, but his predecessors often treated migrants with disdain," 2 July 2018 The material for the wedding gown was purchased with ration coupons collected by the bride. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, "Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and the pressures of royal wedding traditions," 16 May 2018 The material for the wedding gown was purchased with ration coupons collected by the bride. Jennifer Hassan, BostonGlobe.com, "A look at the royal wedding traditions — and pressures — that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry face," 16 May 2018 Usually, soldiers must carry more than 200 rounds of ammo, medical kits, MRE rations, a weapon cleaning kit and a map, to name a few items. Andrew Keiper, Fox News, "Why US forces carry the American flag," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

How about the people of Cuba who are still subjected to rationing booklets, that can script (ph) how much food each of them can buy every month. Fox News, "Lynne Patton responds to Omarosa audio tape," 15 Aug. 2018 That's because the scarce supply is rationed, given only to those with the best survival chances. Fox News, "Doctors explore lifting barriers to living organ donation," 10 Sep. 2018 In fact, Elizabeth saved war-rationing coupons to go toward the cost of her gown. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Prince Philip's Family Made a Huge Sacrifice for Queen Elizabeth's Engagement Ring," 25 Aug. 2018 Start rationing paychecks, scouring Amazon and creating a shopping game plan. Jessica Suriano, azcentral, "How to shop like a pro during Amazon Prime Day," 12 July 2018 The 13 starving siblings held captive in a California house were allowed to eat only one rationed meal a day and shower just twice a year, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told NBC News. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, "California torture house: 13 siblings allowed to eat once a day, shower twice a year," 18 Jan. 2018 As a result, physicians are rationing these painkillers for use on more severe cases, and offering alternatives such as slower-acting or less effective medications to other cases, the Associated Press’s Linda A. Johnson reports. Washington Post, "The Health 202: Kennedy's retirement raises possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade," 28 June 2018 Smith, the coolest man at Belmont Park, who did not even celebrate when the race and the Triple Crown were won, rationed it perfectly. Dick Jerardi, Philly.com, "Justify wins Triple Crown, solidifies his place in elite group | Dick Jerardi," 9 June 2018 That has bitten into public education: some rural districts in Oklahoma have a four-day week and some schools are rationing paper and cutting foreign language classes. BostonGlobe.com, "Teacher walkouts threaten Republican grip on conservative states," 13 Apr. 2018

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


circa 1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ration


French, from Latin ration-, ratio computation, reason

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Statistics for ration

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ration

The first known use of ration was circa 1711

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More Definitions for ration



English Language Learners Definition of ration

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a particular amount of food that is given to one person or animal for one day

rations : food or supplies

: a particular amount of something (such as gasoline or food) that the government allows you to have when there is not enough of it



English Language Learners Definition of ration (Entry 2 of 2)

: to control the amount of (something, such as gasoline or food) that people are allowed to have especially when there is not enough of it


ra·​tion | \ˈra-shən, ˈrā-shən\

Kids Definition of ration

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a food allowance for one day

2 rations plural : provision entry 1 sense 1

3 : the amount each person is allowed by an authority The government set a gas ration.


rationed; rationing

Kids Definition of ration (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to control the amount an individual can use The government rationed gas.

2 : to use sparingly Ration your water on the hike.


ra·​tion | \ˈrash-ən, ˈrā-shən \

Medical Definition of ration 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a food allowance for one day

rationed; rationing\ˈrash-​(ə-​)niŋ, ˈrāsh-​ \

Medical Definition of ration (Entry 2 of 2)

: to supply with or put on rations

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More from Merriam-Webster on ration

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ration

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ration

Spanish Central: Translation of ration

Nglish: Translation of ration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ration for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ration

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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