9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pawr-shuh n, pohr-] /ˈpɔr ʃən, ˈpoʊr-/
a part of any whole, either separated from or integrated with it:
I read a portion of the manuscript.
an amount of food served for one person; serving; helping:
He took a large portion of spinach.
the part of a whole allotted to or belonging to a person or group; share.
the part of an estate that goes to an heir or a next of kin.
Literary. something that is allotted to a person by God or fate.
(especially formerly) the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband at marriage; dowry.
verb (used with object)
to divide into or distribute in portions or shares (often followed by out).
to furnish with a portion, as with an inheritance or a dowry:
All of his children have been amply portioned.
to provide with a lot or fate:
She was portioned with sorrow throughout her life.
Origin of portion
1250-1300; Middle English porcion < Old French < Latin portiōn- (stem of portiō) share, part, akin to pars part
Related forms
portionable, adjective
portionless, adjective
reportion, verb (used with object)
unportionable, adjective
unportioned, adjective
Can be confused
portion, potion.
1. section, segment. See part. 2. ration. 3. allotment, quota, lot, dividend. 4. inheritance. 5. fortune, lot, destiny, doom. 7. allot, apportion. 8. endow.
1. whole. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for portion
  • Reduce the equities portion and increase the bond if you are skittish or near retirement.
  • After seven days on the moon's surface, the crew will return to the orbiting capsule using a portion of the lunar lander.
  • The portion of our planet affected by serious drought has doubled in the last three decades, a new study suggests.
  • The head is the triangular shaped portion near the top, and the right forelimb can be seen to the left.
  • Or plant a portion of your existing garden, perhaps an island bed, with a cottage-style mix of perennials and roses.
  • The ankle functions as a knee, the foot becomes the upper shin, and a prosthetic leg then fills out the lower portion.
  • Let's give them the benefit of a big concession and say that a significant portion of those protests are race-based.
  • And so an unemployment distribution with a thicker red portion will take longer to resolve.
  • Migration: birds in the northern portion of range and at higher elevations migrate south during fall and winter.
  • Occasionally, a single photon from the beam converts into two photons, each with a portion of the original's energy and momentum.
British Dictionary definitions for portion


a part of a whole; fraction
a part allotted or belonging to a person or group
an amount of food served to one person; helping
  1. a share of property, esp one coming to a child from the estate of his parents
  2. the property given by a woman to her husband at marriage; dowry
a person's lot or destiny
verb (transitive)
to divide up; share out
to give a share to (a person); assign or allocate
(law) to give a dowry or portion to (a person); endow
Derived Forms
portionless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin portiō portion, allocation; related to parspart
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for portion

early 14c., "allotted part, share," from Old French porcion "part, portion" (12c., Modern French portion) and directly from Latin portionem (nominative portio) "share, part," accusative of the noun in the phrase pro portione "according to the relation (of parts to each other)" (see proportion). From late 14c. in general sense of "section into which something is divided."


"to divide in portions," early 14c., from Old French porcioner "share out, divide in portions," from porcion (see portion (n.)). Related: Portioned; portioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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