Definition of proportion noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//prəˈpɔːʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//prəˈpɔːrʃn//
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    part of whole
  1. 1  [countable + singular or plural verb] a part or share of a whole Water covers a large proportion of the earth's surface. Loam is a soil with roughly equal proportions of clay, sand and silt. The proportion of regular smokers increases with age. A higher proportion of Americans go on to higher education than is the case in Britain. Grammar Pointproportion If proportion is used with an uncountable or a singular noun, the verb is generally singular:A proportion of the land is used for agriculture. If the proportion of is used with a plural countable noun, or a singular noun that represents a group of people, the verb is usually singular, but with a (large, small, etc.) proportion of a plural verb is often used, especially in British English:The proportion of small cars on America’s roads is increasing. A high proportion of five-year-olds have teeth in poor condition.
  2. relationship
  3. 2  [uncountable] proportion (of something to something) the relationship of one thing to another in size, amount, etc. synonym ratio The proportion of men to women in the college has changed dramatically over the years. The basic ingredients are limestone and clay in the proportion 2:1. The room is very long in proportion to (= relative to) its width. Language BankproportionDescribing fractions and proportions According to this pie chart, a third of students’ leisure time is spent watching TV. One in five hours is/​are spent socializing. Socializing accounts for/makes up/comprises about 20% of leisure time. Students spend twice as much time playing computer games as doing sport. Three times as many hours are spent playing computer games as reading. The figure for playing computer games is three times higher than the figure for reading. The largest proportion of time is spent playing computer games. note at half synonyms at consist language bank at expect, fall, illustrate, increase
  4. 3  [uncountable, countable, usually plural] the correct relationship in size, degree, importance, etc. between one thing and another or between the parts of a whole You haven't drawn the figures in the foreground in proportion. The head is out of proportion with the body. an impressive building with fine proportions Always try to keep a sense of proportion (= of the relative importance of different things).
  5. size/shape
  6. 4proportions [plural] the measurements of something; its size and shape This method divides the task into more manageable proportions. a food shortage that could soon reach crisis proportions a room of fairly generous proportions
  7. mathematics
  8. 5 [uncountable] the equal relationship between two pairs of numbers, as in the statement ‘4 is to 8 as 6 is to 12’
  9. Word Originlate Middle English: from Old French, from Latin proportio(n-), from pro portione ‘in respect of (its or a person's) share’.Extra examples The chart shows government spending expressed as a proportion of national income. The company employs men and women in roughly equal proportions. The computer brings the huge task of stock control down to more manageable proportions. The cost of insurance increases in proportion to the performance of the car. The costs of the plan are out of proportion to the budget available. The food shortage had reached crisis proportions. The human population in the region is expanding in inverse proportion to the wildlife. The problem has been exaggerated out of all proportion. The proportion of sand to cement used was three to one. The unskilled section of the working class was diminishing as a proportion of the workforce. There is an entrance hall of perfect proportions, twice as long as it is wide. This issue was about to be blown out of proportion. Try to keep a sense of proportion. Try to keep your view of the situation in proportion. It is an impressive building with fine proportions. The basic ingredients are limestone and clay in the proportion 2:1. The room is very long in proportion to its width. You haven’t drawn the figures in the foreground in proportion.Idioms
    keep something in proportion
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    to react to something in a sensible way and not think it is worse or more serious than it really is The problem of hooliganism should be kept in proportion. Only a small number of young people act in this way.
    out of (all) proportion (to something)
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    larger, more serious, etc. in relation to something than is necessary or appropriate They earn salaries out of all proportion to their ability. The media have blown the incident up out of all proportion.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: proportion