Definition of disproportion in US English:



  • An instance of being out of proportion with something else.

    ‘there is a disproportion between the scale of expenditure and any benefit that could possibly result’
    • ‘In itself that is a limitation, it might be regarded as a disproportion; no matter, there is no help - he must work within the limits of his love.’
    • ‘But in the case of China and Taiwan, the disproportion in scale of population and power between the mainland and the island is enormous.’
    • ‘In China today, the more literate provinces tend in fact to have somewhat higher, not lower, sex ratios at birth; and in India it is urban, not rural, areas in which the disproportion between boys and girls is greatest.’
    • ‘There's been a significant disproportion for 30 years now between the level of risk the company takes on and the premiums they charge.’
    • ‘The disproportion between the sculpture and the human throng reminded me of a device employed by Piranesi in his engravings of ancient Rome.’
    • ‘In the late 19th and early 20th C. the US Army had a huge disproportion of off-the-boat Irish Catholics.’
    • ‘And obviously we are intended to agree, for otherwise the disproportion between his action and Angelo's proposed punishment would not strike us so forcibly, and the tension would go out of the play.’
    • ‘Since our inclination is usually to evade what's difficult, we may find an increasing disproportion between our power and our depth.’
    • ‘The monumentality of the study is accentuated by the deliberate disproportion in scale: the soaring high windows contrast with the heavy low furnishings.’
    • ‘All sustained strategic bombing campaigns, moreover, depend on a disproportion between the economic resources of the attacking and defending sides.’
    • ‘In the foreseeable future, the disproportion between the United States and any other state will widen.’
    • ‘But, it's not the wedding I resent as much as the disproportion of it all.’
    • ‘The disproportion of parks on Vancouver's Westside compared to the city's Eastside is of absurd dimensions.’
    • ‘When people criticise the Government's apparent obsession with spin and presentation, they are really criticising the disproportion between the energy of the apparatus and the modesty of the outcome.’
    • ‘An awareness that a tragic disproportion of black Americans are poor has been a hallmark of civic awareness among educated Americans for 40 years now.’
    • ‘This meant that it was unrealistic to harmonise the economic systems of Serbia and Montenegro because of major disproportions in the structure of the two economies, he said.’
    • ‘That was when I began to notice the obscene disproportion of taxpayers' money spent on London.’
    • ‘That disproportion brings unhappiness we know - not always, of course, practicing proportionality ourselves.’
    • ‘In a number of Adès's works there is a curious disproportion between the scale of the music's emotional impact and the amount of time it takes to achieve that impact.’
    • ‘The disproportion between his new self-perception and his actual social status as an ordinary businessman and later as a derided cult leader was unbearable.’
    discrepancy, inconsistency, imbalance, inequality, incongruity, unevenness
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: from dis- (expressing absence) + proportion, on the pattern of French disproportion.