Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'Ration' - the Dictionary Definition

From dictionary.com, emphasis in red by I.O.


1. a fixed allowance of provisions or food, esp. for soldiers or sailors or for civilians during a shortage: a daily ration of meat and bread.
2. an allotted amount: They finally saved up enough gas rations for the trip.
3. rations,
a. provisions: Enough rations were brought along to feed all the marchers.
b. Chiefly South Atlantic States. food or meals: The old hotel still has the best rations in town.
–verb (used with object)
4. to supply, apportion, or distribute as rations (often fol. by out): to ration out food to an army.
5. to supply or provide with rations: to ration an army with food.
6. to restrict the consumption of (a commodity, food, etc.): to ration meat during war.
7. to restrict the consumption of (a consumer): The civilian population was rationed while the war lasted.

1540–50; < class="ital-inline">ratiōn- (s. of ratiō); see reason

1, 2. portion, allotment. 1, 3. See food. 4. mete, dole, allot.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

Word Origin & History

1550, "reasoning," later, "relation of one number to another" (1666), then "fixed allowance of food" (1702, often rations, from Fr. ration), from L. rationem (nom. ratio) "reckoning, calculation, proportion" (see ratio). The verb meaning "put (someone) on a fixed allowance" is recorded from 1859; sense of "apportion in fixed amounts" is from 1870. The military pronunciation (rhymes with fashion) took over from the preferred civilian pronunciation (rhymes with nation) during World War I. Rationing is from 1918, from conditions in England during the war.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

Ration book image from "The Hardship of Rationing,"

Whatever supply one begins to control, one begins to ration.

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