What does proportion mean?

Definitions for proportion
prəˈpɔr ʃən, -ˈpoʊr-pro·por·tion

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word proportion.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. proportionnoun

    the quotient obtained when the magnitude of a part is divided by the magnitude of the whole

  2. proportion, dimensionnoun

    magnitude or extent

    "a building of vast proportions"

  3. symmetry, proportionnoun

    balance among the parts of something

  4. proportion, rationoun

    the relation between things (or parts of things) with respect to their comparative quantity, magnitude, or degree

    "an inordinate proportion of the book is given over to quotations"; "a dry martini has a large proportion of gin"

  5. proportion, proportionality, balanceverb

    harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design)

    "in all perfectly beautiful objects there is found the opposition of one part to another and a reciprocal balance"- John Ruskin

  6. proportionverb

    give pleasant proportions to

    "harmonize a building with those surrounding it"

  7. proportionverb

    adjust in size relative to other things


  1. proportionnoun

    A quantity of something that is part of the whole amount or number.

  2. proportionnoun

    Harmonious relation of parts to each other or to the whole.

  3. proportionnoun

    Proper or equal share.

  4. proportionnoun

    The relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity, or degree.

  5. proportionnoun

    A statement of equality between two ratios.

  6. proportionnoun


  7. proportionverb

    To set or render in proportion.

  8. Etymology: From proporcion, from proportion, from proportio, from pro + portio; see portion.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary


    Etymology: proportion, Fr. proportio, Lat.

    Let any man’s wisdom determine by lessening the territory, and increasing the number of inhabitants, what proportion is requisite to the peopling of a region in such a manner, that the land shall be neither too narrow for those whom it feedeth, nor capable of a greater multitude. Walter Raleigh.

    By proportion to these rules, we may judge of the obligation that lies upon all sorts of injurious persons. Taylor.

    Things nigh equivalent and neighb’ring value
    By lot are parted; but high heav’n thy share,
    In equal balance weigh’d ’gainst earth and hell,
    Flings up the adverse scale, and shuns proportion. Matthew Prior.

    Greater visible good does not always raise men’s desires, in proportion to the greatness it is acknowledged to have, though every little trouble sets us on work to get rid of it. John Locke.

    He must be little skilled in the world, who thinks that men’s talking much or little shall hold proportion only to their knowledge. John Locke.

    Several nations are recovered out of their ignorance, in proportion as they converse more or less with those of the reformed churches. Joseph Addison, Remarks on Italy.

    In proportion as this resolution grew, the terrors before us seemed to vanish. Tatler, №. 81.

    His volant touch
    Instinct through all proportions, low and high,
    Fled, and pursu’d transverse the resonant fugue. John Milton.

    It must be mutual in proportion due
    Giv’n and receiv’d. John Milton.

    No man of the present age is equal in the strength, proportion and knitting of his limbs to the Hercules of Farnese. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    The proportions are so well observed, that nothing appears to an advantage, or distinguishes itself above the rest. Addis.

    Harmony, with ev’ry grace,
    Plays in the fair proportions of her face. Elizabeth Carter.

    All things receiv’d, do such proportion take,
    As those things have, wherein they are receiv’d;
    So little glasses little faces make,
    And narrow webs on narrow frames are weav’d. Davies.

  2. To Proportionverb

    Etymology: proportionner, Fr. from the noun.

    Measure is that which perfecteth all things, because every thing is for some end; neither can that thing be available to any end, which is not proportionable thereunto: and to proportion as well excesses as defects, are opposite. Richard Hooker.

    Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
    Proportion’d to each kind. John Milton.

    In the loss of an object, we do not proportion our grief to the real value it bears, but to the value our fancies set upon it. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 256.

    Nature had proportioned her without any fault, quickly to be discovered by the senses; yet altogether seemed not to make up that harmony that Cupid delights in. Philip Sidney.


  1. proportion

    Proportion refers to the relationship or comparison in size, amount, or degree between two or more things. It can represent a part in relation to the whole or suggest a balance or harmony between elements. In mathematics, proportion is used to indicate that two ratios or fractions are equal.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Proportionnoun

    the relation or adaptation of one portion to another, or to the whole, as respect magnitude, quantity, or degree; comparative relation; ratio; as, the proportion of the parts of a building, or of the body

  2. Proportionnoun

    harmonic relation between parts, or between different things of the same kind; symmetrical arrangement or adjustment; symmetry; as, to be out of proportion

  3. Proportionnoun

    the portion one receives when a whole is distributed by a rule or principle; equal or proper share; lot

  4. Proportionnoun

    a part considered comparatively; a share

  5. Proportionnoun

    the equality or similarity of ratios, especially of geometrical ratios; or a relation among quantities such that the quotient of the first divided by the second is equal to that of the third divided by the fourth; -- called also geometrical proportion, in distinction from arithmetical proportion, or that in which the difference of the first and second is equal to the difference of the third and fourth

  6. Proportionnoun

    the rule of three, in arithmetic, in which the three given terms, together with the one sought, are proportional

  7. Proportion

    to adjust in a suitable proportion, as one thing or one part to another; as, to proportion the size of a building to its height; to proportion our expenditures to our income

  8. Proportion

    to form with symmetry or suitableness, as the parts of the body

  9. Proportion

    to divide into equal or just shares; to apportion

  10. Etymology: [F., fr. L. proportio; pro before + portio part or share. See Portion.]


  1. Proportion

    Proportion is the relation between elements and a whole.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Proportion

    prō-pōr′shun, n. the relation of one thing to another in regard to magnitude: fitness of parts to each other: symmetrical arrangement: (math.) the identity or equality of ratios: the 'rule of three,' in which three terms are given to find a fourth: equal or just share: (obs.) form, figure.—v.t. to adjust: to form symmetrically: to correspond to: to divide into proper shares.—adj. Propor′tionable, that may be proportioned: having a proper proportion.—n. Propor′tionableness.—adv. Propor′tionably.—adj. Propor′tional, having a due proportion: relating to proportion: (math.) having the same or a constant ratio.—n. (math.) a number or quantity in a proportion.—n. Proportional′ity.—adv. Propor′tionally.—adj. Propor′tionate, adjusted according to a proportion: proportional.—v.t. to make proportional: to adjust in proportion.—adv. Propor′tionately.—ns. Propor′tionateness, the quality of being adjusted according to settled rates or comparative relation; Propor′tioning, adjustment of proportions.—adj. Propor′tionless, without proportion or symmetry of parts.—Proportional representation, representation in a parliament, &c., according to the number of electors in an electoral district.—Compound proportion, a proportion between two quantities, each of which is the product of two or more, those of the first set being in their order proportional to those of the other; In proportion, in the degree or measure, according; Inverse, or Reciprocal, proportion, an equality of ratio between two quantities and the reciprocals of other two, as 6 : 3 = ½ : ¼. [L. proportiopro, in comparison with, portio, portionis, part, share.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. proportion

    In naval architecture, the length, breadth, and height of a vessel, having a due consideration to her rate, and the object she is intended for.

Editors Contribution

  1. proportion

    An equal share or number of a whole.

    The number of people who voted was in proportion to the amount of candidates.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 9, 2020  

  2. proportion

    To form with symmetry.

    The body shape was in symmetry and painted beautifully said the artist.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 13, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'proportion' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1620

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'proportion' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2538

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'proportion' in Nouns Frequency: #603

How to pronounce proportion?

How to say proportion in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of proportion in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of proportion in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of proportion in a Sentence

  1. Van Winkle:

    It's just blown out of proportion, i wish you guys would focus on the good things I've done.

  2. Anthony Fauci:

    I hope that next Mother’s Day, we’re going to see a dramatic difference than what we’re seeing right now. I believe that we will be about as close to back to normal as we can. And there’s some conditions to that, George, we’ve got to make sure that we get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated.

  3. Albert Ko:

    One possibility is that those microcephaly babies are just the severest cases and that they are only a small proportion of all the babies who were infected.

  4. United States:

    We need ongoing improvement of prevention and treatment. It is there, but only a small proportion of people that need treatment get treatment. This has been an ongoing problem and it's still there.

  5. Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    Heaven always bears some proportion to earth. The god of the cannibal will be a cannibal, of the crusades a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for proportion

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"proportion." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 26 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/proportion>.

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    a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody
    • A. monish
    • B. abet
    • C. fluster
    • D. descant

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