9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pruh-pawr-shuh-nl, -pohr-] /prəˈpɔr ʃə nl, -ˈpoʊr-/
having due proportion; corresponding.
being in or characterized by proportion.
of, relating to, or based on proportion; relative.
  1. (of two quantities) having the same or a constant ratio or relation:
    The quantities y and x are proportional if y/x = k, where k is the constant of proportionality.
  2. (of a first quantity with respect to a second quantity) a constant multiple of:
    The quantity y is proportional to x if y = kx, where k is the constant of proportionality.
Origin of proportional
1350-1400; Middle English proporcional < Latin prōportiōnālis. See proportion, -al1
Related forms
proportionality, noun
proportionally, adverb
interproportional, adjective
nonproportional, adjective
nonproportionally, adverb
subproportional, adjective
subproportionally, adverb
unproportional, adjective
unproportionally, adverb
Can be confused
proportional, proportionate.
1. harmonious, comparative, accordant, consonant, proportionate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for proportional
  • In such a situation electoral experts often recommend proportional representation with closed lists.
  • The size of the compost bin should be proportional to the needs of your project.
  • Turbine power generation is proportional to the cube of wind speed.
  • From mouse to human to elephant, each increase in size requires a proportional increase in energy to maintain it.
  • People pay premiums proportional to their income to join the insurance pool determined by their place of work or residence.
  • Cutting down on the time because it is proportional to the amount of students in the school.
  • List system of proportional representation based on universal adult suffrage.
  • The relative strength, or velocity, of the jet stream is proportional to the intensity of this thermal gradient.
  • Also suppose that these things are decreasing at a changing rate where the rate is proportional to the number of things.
  • Community school board elections are a chance for this because they use proportional representation.
British Dictionary definitions for proportional


of, involving, or being in proportion
(maths) having or related by a constant ratio
(maths) an unknown term in a proportion: in a/b = c/x, x is the fourth proportional
Derived Forms
proportionality, noun
proportionally, adverb
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 proportional

late 14c. (implied in proportionally), from Late Latin proportionalis "pertaining to proportions," from proportio (see proportion). Related: Proportionally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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