• synonyms


[pawr-tuh-buh l, pohr-]
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  1. capable of being transported or conveyed: a portable stage.
  2. easily carried or conveyed by hand: a portable typewriter.
  3. Computers. (of data sets, software, etc.) capable of being used on different computer systems.
  4. Obsolete. endurable.
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  1. something that is portable, especially as distinguished from a nonportable counterpart: Of their three television sets, one is a portable.
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Origin of portable

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Late Latin word portābilis. See port5, -able
Related formsport·a·bly, adverbnon·port·a·ble, adjectiveun·port·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedportable potable
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for portable


  1. able to be carried or moved easily, esp by hand
  2. (of software, files, etc) able to be transferred from one type of computer system to another
  3. archaic able to be endured; bearable
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  1. an article designed to be readily carried by hand, such as a television, typewriter, etc
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Derived Formsportability, nounportably, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Late Latin portābilis, from Latin portāre to carry
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for portable


early 15c., from French portable "that can be carried," from Late Latin portabilis "that can be carried," from Latin portare "to carry" (see port (n.1)). Related: Portability.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper