Share this entry

proportional Syllabification: pro·por·tion·al
Pronunciation: /prəˈpôrSH(ə)n(ə)l/

Definition of proportional in English:


1Corresponding in size or amount to something else: the punishment should be proportional to the crime
More example sentences
  • The amounts produced are proportional to the size of the gland, whether this is increased benignly or by prostate cancer.
  • As such the amount paid in fees, proportional to the amount under management, has continued to increase.
  • The amount of tiles left out will be proportional to the size of the tile.
1.1 Mathematics (Of a variable quantity) having a constant ratio to another quantity.
Example sentences
  • The ratio of the squares of the periods of two planets is directly proportional to the ratio of the cubes of the radii of their orbits.
  • Gravitational force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between two objects.
  • Instead the heat is inversely proportional to the square of the distance.


Except in certain long-established phrases, such as proportional representation, the adjectives proportional and proportionate may be used interchangeably.



Pronunciation: /prəˌpôrSHəˈnalədē/
Example sentences
  • Yeah, I think proportionality is very difficult to achieve in this kind of atmosphere.
  • I want to turn to my last area, which is about proportionality.
  • This is difficult to do because of the old principle of proportionality, which may cause minorities to be outvoted by the majority.


Pronunciation: /prəˈpôrSHənlē/ /pərˈpôrSHənlē/ /prəˈpôrSHnəlē/ /pərˈpôrSHnəlē/
Example sentences
  • The province has proportionally fewer miles of rail line than the rest of the country, especially given its level of economic development.
  • Cats and dogs were the most commonly stockpiled pets, and women were proportionally more likely than men to acquire cats.
  • Because our lower houses aren't proportionally representative that vote is not yet represented in a similar proportion of seats.


Late Middle English: from late Latin proportionalis, from proportio(n-) (see proportion).

Words that rhyme with proportional

inscriptional • optional

Definition of proportional in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources