One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Originally: the proprietor of a small piece of land forming a portion of a larger piece which has been broken up, as by distribution among joint heirs (now historical). Later also more generally: a laird of a small estate.
2Christian Church. Any one of two or more incumbents sharing the duties and revenues of a benefice. Now historical.
3Law. Any one of several persons among whom a fund or estate may be distributed.
4A machine or implement for measuring out portions, especially of food.
Late 15th century. Partly from portion + -er, and partly from portion + -er.
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