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

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 Pattinson and Dafoe drunkenly dance in each other's arms throughout the nights, argue like children and guzzle booze after the rations are gobbled up. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "'The Lighthouse' is a grim nautical tale starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe," 24 Oct. 2019 But rapid urbanization has diminished these sources; millions of city residents now line up daily in sweltering heat to collect small rations of water. Suyin Haynes, Time, "India Grapples With a Water Shortage as City Residents Reach Their Limits," 12 July 2019 My mother was a teenager in German-occupied World War II Belgium; rations of butter, flour, and sugar foreclosed on any kitchen education. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Get Cooking: The table as the great altar of life," 28 Aug. 2019 In each group, nine soldiers were issued rations of barley instead of wheat, an insult to their honor and nutrition. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Why 'Moon Shot' Has No Place in the 21st Century," 16 July 2019 But now, as senior food technologist Dr. Tom Yang shows me, vacuum-microwave drying has supplemented it, further reducing the weight of rations. Tyler Kord, Popular Mechanics, "Cooking (and Shrinking) the Modern Combat Ration," 29 June 2019 The ministry has sought to tackle issues like unemployment, broken water taps, and pregnant women being hassled during monthly food-ration distributions. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "In Uganda, a unique urban experiment is under way," 17 June 2019 On the verge Looking for this week’s free game rations? Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: The film Groundhog Day gets a VR sequel, Creative Assembly teases a new shooter," 8 Feb. 2019 The Mayday Industries emergency food rations can withstand temperatures between -22ºF to 149ºF. oregonlive.com, "6 emergency kits you can buy now to prepare for an earthquake," 10 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb According to these children, guards shout at and threaten toddlers and babies; there is often not enough to eat, and clean water is harshly rationed. Annaliese Griffin, Quartz, "Migrant children are systematically dehumanized, and we are all to blame," 31 Aug. 2019 With supplies strictly rationed, many wealthier families have taken to relying on expensive private water tankers. Jessie Yeung, Helen Regan And Swati Gupta, CNN, "India's sixth biggest city is almost entirely out of water," 19 June 2019 No, not the modern, 21-and-up, craft beer-focused bars with a curated array of old coin-op machines, but the messy, maze-like spaces that utilized way too much ultraviolet lighting and where I was once forced to ration my quarters. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, "What to play: Beyond ‘198X’s’ love letter to video arcades, how games shape our worldviews," 29 July 2019 That people are being choked by student loan debt, that people are rationing insulin, that people don't have clean drinking water and clean air. CBS News, "Gayle King's interview with "the Squad": Read the full transcript," 17 July 2019 In June, Jesimya ‘Jesy’ David Scherer-Radcliff of St. Louis Park died at 21 after rationing insulin. Dana Ferguson, Twin Cities, "‘This is a life or death issue’: Advocates urge lawmakers to act on emergency insulin," 14 Aug. 2019 Since demand for services will exceed supply, care will be rationed. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Colorado officials ignore public opinion and basic economics to our peril," 8 Aug. 2019 The 29-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and 2016, and Boston will be judicious in rationing his workload. David Ginsburg, courant.com, "Orioles hit 2 HRs off Price, cruise past Red Sox 11-2," 20 July 2019 Moyo said authorities will continue rationing water to homes in the city at least once a week until the problems are resolved. CNN, "Zimbabwe drought leaves more than two million people without clean water," 17 July 2019

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

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ration

The first known use of ration was circa 1711

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More Definitions for ration


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



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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ration

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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