Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A portable case for holding material, such as loose papers, photographs, or drawings.
  • n. The materials collected in such a case, especially when representative of a person's work: a photographer's portfolio; an artist's portfolio of drawings.
  • n. The office or post of a cabinet member or minister of state.
  • n. A group of investments held by an investor, investment company, or financial institution.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A case for carrying papers, drawings, photographs, maps and other flat documents.
  • n. The collection of such documents, especially the works of an artist or photographer.
  • n. The post and the responsibilities of a cabinet minister or other head of a government department.
  • n. The group of investments and other assets held by an investor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A portable case for holding loose papers, prints, drawings, etc.
  • n. Hence: The office and functions of a minister of state or member of the cabinet

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A movable receptacle for detached papers or prints, usually in the form of a complete book-cover with a flexible back, and fastened with strings or clasps.
  • n. Figuratively, the office of a minister of state: as, he holds the portfolio of education (that is, he has charge of the documents, etc., connected with that department); he has received the portfolio of the home department.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a list of the financial assets held by an individual or a bank or other financial institution
  • n. the role of the head of a government department
  • n. a large, flat, thin case for carrying loose papers or drawings or maps; usually leather
  • n. a set of pieces of creative work collected to be shown to potential customers or employers

Etymologies

Italian portafoglio : porta-, from portare, to carry, from Latin portāre; see per-2 in Indo-European roots + foglio, sheet (from Latin folium, leaf; see bhel-3 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian portafoglio; cognate with the French portefeuille ("folder, wallet"), from the Latin verb portare ("to carry") and folium ("sheet"). The meaning "collection of responsibilities" came by extension in the 1930s. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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