ra·​tion | \ ˈra-shən How to pronounce ration (audio) , ˈrā- How to pronounce ration (audio) \

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 How to pronounce rationing (audio) , 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

When President Lincoln tapped him to command the Army of the Potomac in 1863, Hooker improved food rations and medical care and lengthened furloughs. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "5 things about ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker," 19 Mar. 2018 The two main dishes are already built into flameless ration heaters similar to those used by the U.S. military. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "YouTube’s Army Ration Taste-Tester Has Reviewed Rations Across Three Centuries," 10 Apr. 2019 Members of the military are going AWOL due to scant rations. Fox News, "Lynne Patton responds to Omarosa audio tape," 15 Aug. 2018 This used to be the province of a few who built bunkers and stocked it with survival rations, but a new, more mainstream industry is growing. Mark Penn, WSJ, "Small Trends Can Be BIG," 16 Mar. 2018 Tehran has a long and checkered history with rations and subsidies. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Iran Moves to Shelter Millions as U.S. Sanctions Bite," 25 Oct. 2018 Burchett had been a firefighter since high school graduation and thrived in the tough conditions: sleeping on the ground, eating crew members’ rations and working to protect people, his family and friends said. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: Utah firefighter died after plane made drop," 20 Aug. 2018 Under the watchful eye of Ms. Venable (one of two roles played by Sarah Paulson this season), Outpost Three is running low on rations and nearly is a state of revolt when Michael arrives on their doorstep. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, ""American Horror Story: Apocalypse" Is Here and So Is Demon Child Michael Langdon," 13 Sep. 2018 There nearly a quarter million Somalis live in makeshift slums with meager food rations, no work and constant violence from terrorists and gangs. Abdi Nor Iftin, Time, "President Trump Betrayed My American Dream," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Amid severe scarcities of basic goods, some hotels here have begun rationing toilet paper. Washington Post, "Venezuela’s solution to a collapsing economy and rampant violence: Woo tourists," 12 Jan. 2018 The students’ rooms were still heated by coal fires and cleaned by the German girls on the staff, and food was still rationed. Daphne Merkin, WSJ, "‘A Life of My Own’ Review: A Woman in a World of Men," 23 Aug. 2018 Boxes of Sweethearts are kept in a glass case and rationed one per customer at Robin’s Candy in Great Barrington, Mass. Annie Gasparro, WSJ, "No One’s Making Sweethearts This Year, Crushing Lovers of Valentine’s Day Candy," 11 Feb. 2019 Insurers that administrate benefits are rationing treatment due to paltry government payments. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Battle of the Statehouses," 23 Oct. 2018 Residents described long queues for gasoline, which is rationed, and frequent power outages. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Egypt’s Hidden War Against Islamic State Upends Lives in Sinai," 11 Oct. 2018 But as for whether or not a perfume can truly, if rationed, last for years and years to come, the jury is still out. Lauren Valenti, Marie Claire, "Can Fragrance Go Bad? Here's How to Tell If You Need to Toss Yours," 7 Aug. 2015 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

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

18 May 2019

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
: 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 How to pronounce ration (audio) , 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 How to pronounce ration (audio) , ˈrā-shən How to pronounce ration (audio) \

Medical Definition of ration

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a food allowance for one day
rationed; rationing\ ˈrash-​(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce rationing (audio) , ˈrāsh-​ How to pronounce rationing (audio) \

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

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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