• synonyms


[pawr-tij, pohr-, or for 2, 3, 5, 6, pawr-tahzh]
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  1. the act of carrying; carriage.
  2. the carrying of boats, goods, etc., overland from one navigable water to another.
  3. the route over which this is done.
  4. the cost of carriage.
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verb (used without object), por·taged, por·tag·ing.
  1. to make a portage: On this stretch of the river, we have to portage for a mile.
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verb (used with object), por·taged, por·tag·ing.
  1. to carry (something) over a portage; make a portage with: We portaged our canoe around the rapids.
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Origin of portage

1375–1425; late Middle English < Middle French; see port5, -age


[pawr-tij, pohr-]
  1. a city in SW Michigan.
  2. a town in NW Indiana.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for portage

Historical Examples

  • In 1847, he completed his light-house work by building the Portage River light-house.

    Cleveland Past and Present

    Maurice Joblin

  • From Warren he removed to Ravenna, in the adjoining county of Portage.

  • The day we passed over this portage was a most miserable one.

  • The next outcrop observed was on the portage from the Nascaupee River.

  • A railway across this portage was opened for traffic in 1876.

British Dictionary definitions for portage


  1. the act of carrying; transport
  2. the cost of carrying or transporting
  3. the act or process of transporting boats, supplies, etc, overland between navigable waterways
  4. the route overland used for such transport
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  1. to transport (boats, supplies, etc) overland between navigable waterways
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Word Origin

C15: from French, from Old French porter 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 portage


early 15c., "action of carrying," said to be from Old French portage, Medieval Latin portaticum, though the meaning of these was "tax paid on entering a town," from Latin portare "to carry" (see port (n.1)). Sense of "carrying of boats from one navigable water to another" is from 1690s, reinforced in Canadian French.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper