Definitions for: Proportion


[n] harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design); "in all perfectly beautiful objects there is found the opposition of one part to another and a reciprocal balance"- John Ruskin
[n] magnitude or extent; "a building of vast proportions"
[n] the quotient obtained when the magnitude of a part is divided by the magnitude of the whole
[n] balance among the parts of something
[v] give pleasant proportions to; "harmonize a building with those surrounding it"
[v] adjust in size relative to other things



Webster (1913) Definition: Pro*por"tion, n. [F., fr. L. proportio; pro before
+ portio part or share. See Portion.]
1. The relation or adaptation of one portion to another, or
to the whole, as respect magnitude, quantity, or degree;
comparative relation; ratio; as, the proportion of the
parts of a building, or of the body.

The image of Christ, made after his own proportion.
--Ridley.

Formed in the best proportions of her sex. --Sir W.
Scott.

Documents are authentic and facts are true precisely
in proportion to the support which they afford to
his theory. --Macaulay.

2. Harmonic relation between parts, or between different
things of the same kind; symmetrical arrangement or
adjustment; symmetry; as, to be out of proportion. ``Let
us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.'' --Rom.
xii. 6.

3. The portion one receives when a whole is distributed by a
rule or principle; equal or proper share; lot.

Let the women . . . do the same things in their
proportions and capacities. --Jer. Taylor.

4. A part considered comparatively; a share.

5. (Math.)
(a) 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.

Note: Proportion in the mathematical sense differs from
ratio. Ratio is the relation of two quantities of the
same kind, as the ratio of 5 to 10, or the ratio of 8
to 16. Proportion is the sameness or likeness of two
such relations. Thus, 5 to 10 as 8 to 16; that is, 5
bears the same relation to 10 as 8 does to 16. Hence,
such numbers are said to be in proportion. Proportion
is expressed by symbols thus: a:b::c:d, or a:b = c:d,
or a/b = c/d.
(b) The rule of three, in arithmetic, in which the three
given terms, together with the one sought, are
proportional.

Continued proportion, Inverse proportion, etc. See under
Continued, Inverse, etc.

Harmonical, or Musical, proportion, a relation of three
or four quantities, such that the first is to the last as
the difference between the first two is to the difference
between the last two; thus, 2, 3, 6, are in harmonical
proportion; for 2 is to 6 as 1 to 3. Thus, 24, 16, 12, 9,
are harmonical, for 24:9::8:3.

In proportion, according as; to the degree that. ``In
proportion as they are metaphysically true, they are
morally and politically false.'' --Burke.


Pro*por"tion, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Proportioned;
p. pr. & vb. n. Proportioning.] [Cf. F. proportionner. Cf.
Proportionate, v.]
1. To adjust in a suitable proportion, as one thing or one
part to another; as, to proportion the size of a building
to its height; to proportion our expenditures to our
income.

In the loss of an object we do not proportion our
grief to the real value . . . but to the value our
fancies set upon it. --Addison.

2. To form with symmetry or suitableness, as the parts of the
body.

Nature had proportioned her without any fault. --Sir
P. Sidney.

3. To divide into equal or just shares; to apportion.

Synonyms: balance, dimension, proportionality, symmetry

Antonyms: disproportion

See Also: adjust, arrangement, balance, batting average, commensurateness, content, correspondence, counterbalance, equilibrium, equipoise, golden mean, golden section, harmonise, harmonize, magnitude, pct, per centum, percent, percentage, placement, proportional, proportionateness, quotient, scale, scale down, scale up, set

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