ratio

[ rey-shoh, -shee-oh ]
/ ˈreɪ ʃoʊ, -ʃiˌoʊ /

noun, plural ra·tios.

the relation between two similar magnitudes with respect to the number of times the first contains the second: the ratio of 5 to 2, written 5:2 or 5/2.
proportional relation; rate: the ratio between acceptances and rejections.
Finance. the relative value of gold and silver in a bimetallic currency system.

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Origin of ratio

1630–40; < Latin ratiō a reckoning, account, calculation, derivative (see -tion) of the base of rērī to judge, think

Definition for ratio (2 of 2)

ultima ratio regum
[ oo l-ti-mah rah-tee-oh rey-goo m; English uhl-tuh-muh rey-shee-oh ree-guh m ]
/ ˈʊl tɪˌmɑ ˈrɑ tiˌoʊ ˈreɪ gʊm; English ˈʌl tə mə ˈreɪ ʃiˌoʊ ˈri gəm /

Latin.

the final argument of kings (a resort to arms): motto engraved on the cannon of Louis XIV.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What else does ratio mean?

On the social media platform Twitter, a ratio, or getting ratioed, is when replies to a tweet vastly outnumber likes or retweets. This means people are objecting to the tweet and considering its content bad.

Where does ratio come from?

You might remember from math class that a ratio is a proportional relationship between two numbers. For example, if I have two carrots for every one apple, my carrot-to-apple ratio is 2:1, or 2/1 as a fraction.

In the Twittersphere, a ratio specifically refers to the number of replies to a tweet versus the number of likes and retweets. The importance of this ratio was first called out by user @85mf, who noted on March 7, 2017 that U.S. congressman Jason Chaffetz had a tweet with 701 replies and only 23 retweets and 108 likes. @85mf commented: “Nothing on this site makes me happier than reply-to-RT ratios like this. That is the ratio of someone who fuuuuu***d up.”

In April 2017, an article in Esquire, “How to Know If You’ve Sent a Horrible Tweet: A Deep Dive into The Ratio,” gave a longer description of this phenomenon. Essentially, showing you like something on Twitter is easy: You simply like or retweet the comment. It takes more effort, however, to leave a negative comment, so, if lots of people do so, then it must be a sign the tweet has really stepped in it. By fall 2017, the noun ratio had been verbed, as in I’ve been ratioed or Let’s ratio this guy.

Before Twitter analytics became a thing, having something that was well-ratioed, like ingredients on a sandwich, meant it was well-proportioned. But since 2017, there is little positive about being ratioed. It means your tweet has been taken down by the hive mind.

How is ratio used in real life?

Ratios are obviously found all over math and science and their uncountable real-world applications, where it’s just another way of expressing the proportional relationship between two numbers.

But on social media, a ratio refers specifically to this relationship between comments, retweets, and likes, and it implies a post is objectionable.

While it started on Twitter and is most commonly found there, users’ posts can be ratioed on nearly any social media platform, including Reddit and Instagram.

The definition has also expanded to refer to the ratio of the number of people a user follows based on how many people follow them—a sign of internet popularity as well (or lack thereof).

Getting ratioed on Twitter has become such a trend that it’s spawned its own hashtag, #ratioed, which salty tweeters use to note particularly unpopular tweets.

In the gaming world, your ratio more likely refers to your k/d ratio—your kill-to-death ratio, meaning how many players you’ve killed versus how many times you’ve been killed.

More examples of ratio:

“It’s widely considered that if you have a ratio of 2:1 for replies to retweets, you’ve done something wrong. So if your ratio gets higher than that, you know you’re in trouble.”
—Rachel Hosie, The Independent (UK), April 2017

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for ratio

British Dictionary definitions for ratio

ratio
/ (ˈreɪʃɪˌəʊ) /

noun plural -tios

a measure of the relative size of two classes expressible as a proportionthe ratio of boys to girls is 2 to 1
maths a quotient of two numbers or quantitiesSee also proportion (def. 6)

Word Origin for ratio

C17: from Latin: a reckoning, from rērī to think; see reason
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

Medical definitions for ratio

ratio
[ rāshō, rāshē-ō′ ]

n. pl. ra•tios

Relation in degree or number between two similar things.
The relation between two quantities expressed as the quotient of one divided by the other.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for ratio

ratio
[ rāshō, rāshē-ō′ ]

A relationship between two quantities, normally expressed as the quotient of one divided by the other. For example, if a box contains six red marbles and four blue marbles, the ratio of red marbles to blue marbles is 6 to 4, also written 6:4. A ratio can also be expressed as a decimal or percentage.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for ratio

ratio
[ (ray-shee-oh, ray-shoh) ]

An expression of the relative size of two numbers by showing one divided by the other.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.