[ pruh-pawr-shuhn, -pohr- ]
See synonyms for: proportionproportionedproportioningproportions on

  1. comparative relation between things or magnitudes as to size, quantity, number, etc.; ratio.

  2. proper relation between things or parts: to have tastes way out of proportion to one's financial means.

  1. relative size or extent.

  2. proportions, dimensions or size: a rock of gigantic proportions.

  3. a portion or part in its relation to the whole: A large proportion of the debt remains.

  4. symmetry, harmony, or balance: an architect with a sense of proportion.

  5. the significance of a thing or event that an objective view reveals: You must try to see these mishaps in proportion.

  6. Mathematics. a relation of four quantities such that the first divided by the second is equal to the third divided by the fourth; the equality of ratios.: Compare rule of three.

  7. Archaic. analogy; comparison.

verb (used with object)
  1. to adjust in proper proportion or relation, as to size, quantity, etc.

  2. to balance or harmonize the proportions of.

Origin of proportion

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English proporcio(u)n from Latin prōportiōn-, stem of prōportiō “symmetry, analogy”; equivalent to pro-1 + portion

synonym study For proportion

6. See symmetry.

Other words for proportion

Other words from proportion

  • pro·por·tion·er, noun
  • pro·por·tion·less, adjective
  • mis·pro·por·tion, noun
  • re·pro·por·tion, verb (used with object)
  • su·per·pro·por·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use proportion in a sentence

  • It was a decayed house of superb proportions, but of a fashion long passed away.

    Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • The latter-named proportions may in some measure account for "what becomes of the pins?"

    Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham | Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
  • He threw out his arms, as if trying to indicate the proportions of a great world or of an enormous ocean.

    Bella Donna | Robert Hichens
  • It not only brought about the instant beginnings of the siege, but its proportions were grossly exaggerated in the public eye.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • Here Letty drew the coverlet from the face of the sleeping babe, and displayed his chubby proportions with maternal pride.

    The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie

British Dictionary definitions for proportion


/ (prəˈpɔːʃən) /

  1. the relationship between different things or parts with respect to comparative size, number, or degree; relative magnitude or extent; ratio

  2. the correct or desirable relationship between parts of a whole; balance or symmetry

  1. a part considered with respect to the whole

  2. (plural) dimensions or size: a building of vast proportions

  3. a share, part, or quota

  4. maths a relationship that maintains a constant ratio between two variable quantities: x increases in direct proportion to y

  5. maths a relationship between four numbers or quantities in which the ratio of the first pair equals the ratio of the second pair

  1. to adjust in relative amount, size, etc

  2. to cause to be harmonious in relationship of parts

Origin of proportion

C14: from Latin prōportiō (a translation of Greek analogia), from phrase prō portione, literally: for (its, his, one's) portion

Derived forms of proportion

  • proportionable, adjective
  • proportionability, noun
  • proportionably, adverb
  • proportionment, noun

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

Scientific definitions for proportion


[ prə-pôrshən ]

  1. A statement of equality between two ratios. Four quantities, a, b, c, and d, are said to be in proportion if ab = cd.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with proportion


see out of proportion.

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