[ pawr-tuh-buh l, pohr- ]
/ ˈpɔr tə bəl, ˈpoʊr- /


capable of being transported or conveyed: a portable stage.
easily carried or conveyed by hand: a portable typewriter.
Computers. (of data sets, software, etc.) capable of being used on different computer systems.
Obsolete. endurable.


something that is portable, especially as distinguished from a nonportable counterpart: Of their three television sets, one is a portable.

Origin of portable

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Late Latin word portābilis. See port5, -able

Related forms

port·a·bly, adverbnon·port·a·ble, adjectiveun·port·a·ble, adjective

Can be confused

portable potable
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for portable

British Dictionary definitions for portable


/ (ˈpɔːtəbəl) /


able to be carried or moved easily, esp by hand
(of software, files, etc) able to be transferred from one type of computer system to another
archaic able to be endured; bearable


an article designed to be readily carried by hand, such as a television, typewriter, etc

Derived Forms

portability, nounportably, adverb

Word Origin for portable

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