from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or an instance of carrying.
  • n. A charge for carrying.
  • n. Nautical The carrying of boats and supplies overland between two waterways or around an obstacle to navigation.
  • n. Nautical A track or route used for such carrying.
  • transitive v. Nautical To transport or travel by portage: canoed and portaged the goods; portaging around the rapids.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act of carrying, especially the carrying of a boat overland between two waterways
  • n. The route used for such carrying
  • n. A charge made for carrying something
  • v. To carry a boat overland

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sailor's wages when in port.
  • n. The amount of a sailor's wages for a voyage.
  • n. A porthole.
  • n. The act of carrying or transporting.
  • n. The price of carriage; porterage.
  • n. Capacity for carrying; tonnage.
  • n. A carry between navigable waters. See 3d Carry.
  • v. To carry (goods, boats, etc.) overland between navigable waters.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To carry; pack, as a boat around a portage.
  • To carry; proceed by carrying (a boat or load); make a portage.
  • n. The act of carrying; carriage; transportation.
  • n. That which is carried or transported; cargo; freight; baggage.
  • n. Tonnage; burden of a vessel.
  • n. The price paid for carriage; freight-charges.
  • n. A break in a chain of water-communication over which goods, boats, etc., have to be carried, as from one lake, river, or canal to another, or along the banks of rivers round waterfalls, rapids, or the like; a carry.
  • n. An opening; a port or port-hole.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. overland track between navigable waterways
  • n. the cost of carrying or transporting
  • n. carrying boats and supplies overland


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from porter, to carry, from Latin portāre; see per-2 in Indo-European roots.



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  • "We had traded our slightly too small aluminum canoe for a much too big dugout. In this vessel, carved from a single tree, seventeen Indians at one time travelled with us. With all their baggage added to ours and everyone aboard, the vast canoe still looked rather empty. Portaging it, this time with only four or five Indians to help, over half a mile of boulders beside a large waterfall, was depressing to contemplate."

    - Jean Liedloff, 'The Continuum Concept', 1975.

    October 25, 2011