ration

noun
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

ration

verb
rationed; rationing\ ˈra-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce ration (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

Noun The soldiers were given their rations for the day. The horse was fed its ration of oats. weekly sugar and butter rations Verb 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 Hospitals in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley have been inundated with COVID-19 patients for weeks and may be forced to ration care soon. Erin Allday, SFChronicle.com, "ICU bed crisis escalates as California stumbles through relentless winter surge," 5 Jan. 2021 That spike in cases would put Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles in the position of needing to ration care, CEO Dr. Elaine Batchlor said Monday. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Record Covid-19 hospitalizations in US could soon force health experts to ration care," 29 Dec. 2020 In extreme circumstances, hospitals could become forced to ration care — with doctors no longer pulling out all the stops to save a life and instead strategizing about where to most effectively use resources and equipment. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County hospitals, at the breaking point, turn away ambulances," 29 Dec. 2020 The counties around the state’s capital have been hammered by the pandemic in recent weeks and Boise-area hospitals may be forced to ration care by New Year’s Day if cases continue to rise, the Statesman reported. Katie Shepherd, Anchorage Daily News, "Idaho anti-maskers swarm home of official whose child was alone, forcing her to leave meeting," 9 Dec. 2020 Hospitals already are being crushed by patient volume in parts of the state, and public health officials fear another influx will have devastating consequences, forcing providers to ration care and resulting in preventable deaths. Erin Allday, SFChronicle.com, "California hits 2 million coronavirus cases," 23 Dec. 2020 Yet, as case numbers continue to rise unabated and hospitals warn they may soon be forced to ration care, malls have continued to welcome holiday shoppers. Soumya Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times, "COVID-19 outbreaks surge at L.A. County malls as holiday shoppers pour in," 23 Dec. 2020 In Los Angeles, some hospitals have begun discussing plans to ration care, Saag said. al, "UAB expert warning to Alabamians: COVID cases could double if they don’t ‘rethink Christmas’," 22 Dec. 2020 The counties around the state’s capital have been hammered by the pandemic in recent weeks and Boise-area hospitals may be forced to ration care by New Year’s Day if cases continue to rise, the Statesman reported. Katie Shepherd, Anchorage Daily News, "Idaho anti-maskers swarm home of official whose child was alone, forcing her to leave meeting," 9 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As insulin prices have soared, some people with diabetes who rely on the medication to regulate levels of glucose in their blood and prevent life-threatening complications have been forced to turn to lower-quality products or to ration their supply. Jamie Munks, chicagotribune.com, "New year brings new laws, including insulin price limit, while minimum wage goes up another dollar," 30 Dec. 2020 Faced with this reality, the state is updating its planning guide for how hospitals would ration care if necessary. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Has California been too lax?," 22 Dec. 2020 Americans would be asked to ration essential supplies and send their children around the world to fight and die in wars of unfathomable destruction. Los Angeles Times, "Families are turning obituaries into final pleas to avoid COVID-19," 26 Dec. 2020 Like 44 other local health departments across the state, Kent County will have to ration its vaccine supply until more vaccines become available. Ted Roelofs, Detroit Free Press, "Who gets COVID-19 vaccine next? Mich. health officials face 'incredibly difficult decisions'," 22 Dec. 2020 Grocery stores move to ration key items as the coronavirus surges, but experts are bullish on the supply chain. Washington Post, "Shoppers are panic-buying toilet paper. This time, there should be enough to go around.," 19 Nov. 2020 The Fed was forced to ration the supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters based on banks’ previous orders. The Economist, "Changing down Why money is changing hands much less frequently," 21 Nov. 2020 At the height of the first wave, Italy had just over 4,000 ICU Covid patients, with doctors in some cases forced to ration intensive-care beds. Xie Yu, WSJ, "U.S. Reports Highest Daily Coronavirus Cases Since July," 17 Oct. 2020 An official said that was partly because of timing — Howard only received its funding in June — and partly because the county wants to ration the money, given the uncertainty over another stimulus package. Washington Post, "As communities suffer, local officials struggle to disburse federal aid. Now, a deadline looms.," 20 Aug. 2020

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

Noun

circa 1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ration

Noun

French, from Latin ration-, ratio computation, reason

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Time Traveler for ration

Time Traveler

The first known use of ration was circa 1711

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Statistics for ration

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ration. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for ration

ration

noun
How to pronounce ration (audio) How to pronounce ration (audio)

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

ration

verb

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

ration

noun
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.

ration

verb
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.

ration

noun
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 ration (audio) , ˈrāsh-​ How to pronounce ration (audio) \

Medical Definition of ration (Entry 2 of 2)

: to supply with or put on rations

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Comments on ration

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