1 noun
1 AMOUNT (C) a part or share of a larger amount: proportion of sth to sth: The proportion of men to women in the population has changed in recent years.
(+ of): Quite high proportions of their incomes are spent on fuel.
2 NUMBER (C) a number of people or things, considered as a part or share of a larger number
(+ of): Far higher proportions of part-time workers have no health insurance at all. (also + plural verb BrE): A large proportion of the people are illiterate.
3 RELATIONSHIP (C, U) the relationship between the amounts, numbers, or sizes of different things that go together to form a whole: eating the right foods in the right proportions | proportion of sth to sth: The proportion of men to women has changed in recent years. | the proportion of: Make salad dressing in the proportion of three parts oil to one part vinegar.
a) the correct relationship between the size, shape and position of the different parts of something, which gives it an attractive appearance: Builders must learn about scale and proportion. | in proportion: Reduce the drawing so that all the elements stay in proportion.
b) the correct relationship between the size or shape of something and the place where it is: out of proportion (to/with): They've built a house that's completely out of proportion with the size of the lot.
5 in proportion (to/with sth) according to a particular relationship in size, amount etc: If you use a whole pineapple, increase the other ingredients in proportion. | Tax is then calculated in proportion to what you earn.
6 in proportion (to sth) when you compare sizes, amounts etc: Her feet are small in proportion to her height.
7 SIZE/IMPORTANCE proportions (plural) the size and shape of something, or the degree to which something is important: a building of classic proportions | It may reduce the task to more manageable proportions. | immense/huge/massive etc proportions: an ecological tragedy of enormous proportions | epic/heroic/mythic proportions: For most of us, Scott was a hero of mythic proportions. | crisis/epidemic etc proportions: a fall in silk prices of catastrophic proportions
8 keep things in proportion to react to a situation sensibly, and not think that it is worse or more serious than it really is: Try to keep things in proportion; you won't die if you don't get the job.
—see also: perspective (2)
9 get/blow things (all) out of proportion to react to a situation as if it is worse or more serious than it really is
10 out of (all) proportion (to sth) a reaction, result, emotion etc that is out of proportion is too strong or great, compared to the situation in which it happens: The fear of violent crime has now risen out of all proportion to the actual risk.
11 sense of proportion the ability to judge what is most important in a situation: keep/lose a sense of proportion: You can protest by all means, but keep a sense of proportion.
12 MATHEMATICS (U) technical equality in the mathematical relationship between two sets of numbers, as in the statement `8 is to 6 as 32 is to 24'
2 verb (transitive usually passive) formal
1 well/badly/beautifully etc proportioned having a size and shape that is either pleasant or unpleasant to look at, or is either right or wrong for its use: a well proportioned room | long, beautifully proportioned legs
2 to make something stay in a particular relationship with something else according to size, amount, position etc: proportion sth to sth: Allowances for expenditure have been proportioned to your income.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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