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See also: Proportion



From Middle English proporcion, from Old French proportion, from Latin proportio (comparative relation, proportion, symmetry, analogy), from pro (for, before) + portio (share, part); see portion.



proportion (countable and uncountable, plural proportions)

  1. (countable) A quantity of something that is part of the whole amount or number.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter VI, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 24962326:
      “I don't mean all of your friends—only a small proportion—which, however, connects your circle with that deadly, idle, brainless bunch—the insolent chatterers at the opera, the gorged dowagers, the worn-out, passionless men, the enervated matrons of the summer capital, []!”
  2. (uncountable) Harmonious relation of parts to each other or to the whole.
  3. (countable) Proper or equal share.
    • Jeremy Taylor (1613–1677)
      Let the women [] do the same things in their proportions and capacities.
  4. The relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity, or degree.
    the proportion of the parts of a building, or of the body
    • Lancelot Ridley (ca.1500-1576)
      The image of Christ, made after his own proportion.
    • Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
      Formed in the best proportions of her sex.
    • Thomas Macaulay (1800-1859)
      Documents are authentic and facts are true precisely in proportion to the support which they afford to his theory.
  5. (mathematics, countable) A statement of equality between two ratios.
  6. (countable, chiefly in the plural) Size.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; [] . Now she had come to look upon the matter in its true proportions, and her anticipation of a possible chance of teaching him a lesson was a pleasure to behold.
    • 2012 May 20, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Marge Gets A Job” (season 4, episode 7; originally aired 11/05/1992)”, in The Onion AV Club:
      What other television show would feature a gorgeously designed sequence where a horrifically mutated Pierre and Marie Curie, their bodies swollen to Godzilla-like proportions from prolonged exposure to the radiation that would eventually kill them, destroy an Asian city with their bare hands like vengeance-crazed monster-Gods?

Derived terms[edit]



proportion (third-person singular simple present proportions, present participle proportioning, simple past and past participle proportioned)

  1. (art) To set or render in proportion.


Further reading[edit]




proportion f (plural proportions)

  1. proportion