"out of proportion, unsymmetrical, lacking due proportion," 1550s; see dis- "not" + proportionate. Improportionate in same sense is from late 14c. Related: Disproportionately.
Entries linking to disproportionate
word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.
The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").
In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.
As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).
"of proper proportion; adjusted to something else according to a certain rate or relation; corresponding in regard to size, amount, nature, etc.," late 14c., proporcionate, from Medieval Latin proportionatus "proportioned," past participle of proportionare, from Latin proportio "comparative relation, analogy" (see proportion (n.)). The classical spelling with -t- was restored in English 16c. Related: Proportionately.
updated on September 01, 2018
Dictionary entries near disproportionate