Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: Latin proportio, from portio; PORTION1


1 noun
Related topics: Maths, Numbers
pro‧por‧tion1 S2 W2
1 [C usually singular also + plural verb British English]HMN

part of something

a part of a number or amount, considered in relation to the whole
proportion of
The proportion of women graduates has increased in recent years.
Every parent is asked to contribute a proportion of the total cost.
high/large/small etc proportion
The decision affects a significant proportion of the population.
Although the majority of offenders are men, a small proportion - about 5 percent - are women.


[uncountable and countable] the relationship between two things in size, amount, importance etc
the proportion of something to something
What's the proportion of boys to girls in your class?
in proportion to something
The rewards you get in this job are in direct proportion to the effort you put in.

correct scale

[uncountable] the correct or most suitable relationship between the size, shape, or position of the different parts of something:
Builders must learn about scale and proportion.
in proportion
Reduce the drawing so that all the elements stay in proportion.
in proportion to something
Her feet are small in proportion to her height.
out of proportion with something
The porch is out of proportion with (=too big or too small when compared with) the rest of the house.


a) the size or importance of something:
Try to reduce your tasks to more manageable proportions.
of immense/huge/massive etc proportions
an ecological tragedy of enormous proportions
of epic/heroic/mythic proportions
For most of us, Scott was a hero of mythic proportions.
crisis/epidemic proportions
The flu outbreak has reached epidemic proportions.
b) the relative sizes of the different parts of a building, object etc
of grand/gigantic/generous etc proportions
a building of classic proportions
the elegant proportions of the living room

out of (all) proportion

too big, great, or strong in relation to something
out of (all) proportion to/with
The fear of violent crime has now risen out of all proportion to the actual risk.
get/blow something out of proportion (=treat something as more serious than it really is)
Aren't you getting things rather out of proportion?
The whole issue has been blown out of all proportion.

keep something in proportion

to react to a situation sensibly, and not think that it is worse or more serious than it really is [↪ perspective]:
Let's keep things in proportion.

sense of proportion

the ability to judge what is most important in a situation
have/keep/lose a sense of proportion
You can protest by all means, but keep a sense of proportion.


[uncountable] technicalHMN equality in the mathematical relationship between two sets of numbers, as in the statement '8 is to 6 as 32 is to 24' [↪ ratio]

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