Definitions

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

  • n. A part considered in relation to the whole.
  • n. A relationship between things or parts of things with respect to comparative magnitude, quantity, or degree: the proper proportion between oil and vinegar in the dressing.
  • n. A relationship between quantities such that if one varies then another varies in a manner dependent on the first: "We do not always find visible happiness in proportion to visible virtue” ( Samuel Johnson).
  • n. Agreeable or harmonious relation of parts within a whole; balance or symmetry.
  • n. Dimensions; size. Often used in the plural.
  • n. Mathematics A statement of equality between two ratios. Four quantities, a, b, c, d, are said to be in proportion if a/b = c/d .
  • transitive v. To adjust so that proper relations between parts are attained.
  • transitive v. To form the parts of with balance or symmetry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A quantity of something that is part of the whole amount or number.
  • n. Harmonious relation of parts to each other or to the whole.
  • n. Proper or equal share.
  • n. The relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity, or degree.
  • n. A statement of equality between two ratios.
  • n. size
  • v. To set or render in proportion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj.
  • n. The relation or adaptation of one portion to another, or to the whole, as respect magnitude, quantity, or degree; comparative relation; ratio.
  • n. Harmonic relation between parts, or between different things of the same kind; symmetrical arrangement or adjustment; symmetry.
  • n. The portion one receives when a whole is distributed by a rule or principle; equal or proper share; lot.
  • n. A part considered comparatively; a share.
  • n.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The rule of three, in arithmetic, in which the three given terms, together with the one sought, are proportional.
  • transitive v. To adjust in a suitable proportion, as one thing or one part to another
  • transitive v. To form with symmetry or suitableness, as the parts of the body.
  • transitive v. To divide into equal or just shares; to apportion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The relation of one thing to another in respect to size, quantity, magnitude of corresponding parts, capacity, or degree.
  • n. Specifically, the relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude; the relative size and arrangement of parts: as, the proportion of the parts of an edifice, or of the human body. Commonly in the plural.
  • n. Symmetrical arrangement, distribution, or adjustment; the proper relation of parts in a whole; symmetry or harmony.
  • n. That which falls to one's lot when a whole is divided according to a rule or principle; just or proper share; in general, portion; lot.
  • n. Form; shape; figure.
  • n. In mathematics, the equality of ratios or relations; analogy.
  • n. In music: The ratio between the vibration-numbers of two tones.
  • n. Same as rhythm or meter.
  • n. In arithmetic, the rule of three; that rule which, according to the theory of proportion, enables us to find a fourth proportional to three given numbers — that is, a number to which the third bears the same ratio as the first does to the second.
  • n. See mixed.
  • n. Synonyms See symmetry.
  • To adjust in suitable relations; adapt harmoniously to something else as regards dimensions or extent: as, to proportion the size of a building to its height, or the thickness of a thing to its length; to proportion expenditure to income.
  • To form with symmetry; give a symmetrical form to.
  • To bear proportion or adequate relation to; correspond to.
  • To divide into portions; allot; apportion.
  • To compare; estimate the relative proportions of.
  • In type-manuf., to adjust (a font of type) so that it shall contain the proper number of each letter, point, etc.

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

  • n. the quotient obtained when the magnitude of a part is divided by the magnitude of the whole
  • n. harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design)
  • n. the relation between things (or parts of things) with respect to their comparative quantity, magnitude, or degree
  • n. balance among the parts of something
  • v. adjust in size relative to other things
  • n. magnitude or extent
  • v. give pleasant proportions to

Etymologies

Middle English proporcion, from Old French proportion, from Latin prōportiō, prōportiōn-, from prō portiōne, according to (each) part : prō, according to; see pro-1 + portiōne, ablative of portiō, part; see perə-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English proporcion, from Old French proportion, from Latin proportio ("comparative relation, proportion, symmetry, analogy"), from pro ("for, before") + portio ("share, part"); see portion. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Miss Bart was discerning enough to know that the inner vanity is generally in proportion to the outer self-depreciation.
    -Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

    July 26, 2009