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out of proportion

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Also, out of all proportion. Not in proper relation to other things, especially by being the wrong size or amount. For example, This vase looks out of proportion on this small table, or Her emotional response was out of all proportion to the circumstances. The noun proportion means “an agreeable or harmonious relationship of one thing relative to another.” [Early 1700s] The antonym in proportion dates from the late 1600s and also refers either to physical size or appropriate degree, as in The bird's wings are huge in proportion to its body, or Her willingness to believe him stands in direct proportion to her love for intrigue.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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