There are 2 main definitions of portage in English:

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portage 1

Pronunciation: /ˈpôrdij/


1The carrying of a boat or its cargo between two navigable waters: the return journey was made much simpler by portage
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  • The upside here is that the 300 is the right weight for your youngsters, and it's also pleasingly light for a long back-country hike or lengthy canoe portage.
  • I won't bore you with details of our portage of the canoe back to the hire centre, excuses to the owners for our bedraggled state, or the hours spent warming up in the shower afterwards, but I will bore you with a little observation.
  • At each portage, then, they're carrying maybe 250 pounds, and before they reach the end of the race they will have done maybe 25 such portages.
1.1A place where carrying a boat is necessary: a portage over the dam
More example sentences
  • With bodily force and strategic cajoling - namely, the false promise of a rest just a few portages away - I managed to coax her back into the boat.
  • At the start of the 19th century, Quetico was the busiest region of interior North America and in the peace of morning, if one pauses to listen, the ghosts of the old fur traders can still be heard stalking the portages.
  • Follow the well-marked, modest portages from Birch Lake to Carp Lake, and into Emerald.
1.2 archaic The action of carrying or transporting something.


[with object]
1Carry (a boat or its cargo) between navigable waters: they are incapable of portaging a canoe [no object]: they would only run the rapid if they couldn’t portage
More example sentences
  • Without helicopter rescue, crews would have had to be self-reliant (as in the ‘old days’) through a combination of paddling and portaging boats through water and over the ice to reach land.
  • Ethel seems quite happy portaging the canoe and testing the river's depths while her husband plays ‘backseat driver.’
  • We landed upstream and portaged the heavy Fiberglass canoes past the group while they snorted, perhaps in amusement.
1.1 [no object] (Of a boat) be carried between navigable waters: the cataracts meant that boats had to portage on to the Lualaba
More example sentences
  • The salmon fishing, black bear, moose, and caribou sightings, and frequent stops for scouting and portaging easily turn running the Main into a weeklong wilderness adventure.
  • All told, we'd traversed some forty-eight miles, paddling and portaging.
  • The best ones have a scuff-proof cover, fold up for portaging, and join two types of foam padding.


Late Middle English: from French, from porter 'carry'. The sense relating to carrying between navigable waters dates from the late 17th century.

Words that rhyme with portage

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There are 2 main definitions of portage in English:

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Portage 2

Pronunciation: /ˈpôrdəj/
1A port city in northwestern Indiana, on Lake Erie, east of Gary; population 36,976 (est. 2008).
2A city in southwestern Michigan, south of Kalamazoo; population 46,133 (est. 2008).
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