Meaning of portage in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpɔːtɪdʒ/ /pɔːˈtɑːʒ/


mass noun
  • 1The carrying of a boat or its cargo between two navigable waters.

    ‘the return journey was made much simpler by portage’
    • ‘The upside here is that the 300 is the right weight for your youngsters, and it's also pleasingly light for a long back-country hike or lengthy canoe portage.’
    • ‘I won't bore you with details of our portage of the canoe back to the hire centre, excuses to the owners for our bedraggled state, or the hours spent warming up in the shower afterwards, but I will bore you with a little observation.’
    • ‘At each portage, then, they're carrying maybe 250 pounds, and before they reach the end of the race they will have done maybe 25 such portages.’
    • ‘The expedition's most difficult portage occurred in early June at a place called Grand Portage.’
    • ‘It is highly likely that the Vikings took the short portage at Tarbet, and found a retreat in Loch Morar.’
    • ‘Desirous of keeping the militarily and economically strategic portage in their employ, the British decided that Alexis Maisonville and his brother Francis would be better trusted with it than the Indians.’
    • ‘At the end of our paddle we disembarked at a boat launch used by fisherman, and when we pulled ourselves out we immediately were chilled, so we changed into dry clothes for the 11-mile portage across to the saltwater.’
    • ‘The site benefited from centuries of Indian custom in that it lay athwart an old Indian portage between Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne and the river, the trail that now terminated as Rue de l' Hôpital.’
    • ‘The grueling eighteen-mile portage around the natural wonder, however, was a month-long ordeal with many days spent in preparation and eleven days in transit.’
    • ‘The native villages are built at the heads of the rapids, so that they can spot intruders and attack them during portage.’
    • ‘The next day Lewis walked ahead with three men to find the Shoshones and horses for portage.’
    • ‘The long-sought overland portage to the Columbia River that President Thomas Jefferson envisioned could not be too far distant.’
    • ‘Some families would stay there only in the fall for the caribou harvest and then would move on to trap in other areas of the barren lands or portage back to Tue Nedhe.’
    • ‘We believe there will be a 400 metre portage involved so it is important to get the experience under our belt.’
    • ‘Yet, as I said to the four people waiting for us to clear one particularly messy portage, as I was standing there knee-deep in the muck: I said: This is what we come for, isn't it?’
    • ‘First, today as in the past, canoe travel in the swampy coastal areas of Cameroon is the most efficient method of portage - not only for goods but also for ideas.’
    • ‘In spite of the hard portage today, we are happy campers.’
    • ‘As we neared that last portage, from Quetico Lake back into Beaverhouse, two eagles stood silent vigil in a dead tree along our way.’
    • ‘You boys are not strong enough to carry the canoe over the portage.’
    • ‘It was short portage railway around a cataract in the St. Lawrence River, running only 14 miles between Lapraire on the St.Lawrence River and St.John's on the Richelieu River.’
    1. 1.1count noun A place at which portage is necessary.
      ‘a portage over the weir’
      • ‘With bodily force and strategic cajoling - namely, the false promise of a rest just a few portages away - I managed to coax her back into the boat.’
      • ‘At the start of the 19th century, Quetico was the busiest region of interior North America and in the peace of morning, if one pauses to listen, the ghosts of the old fur traders can still be heard stalking the portages.’
      • ‘Follow the well-marked, modest portages from Birch Lake to Carp Lake, and into Emerald.’
      • ‘Everyone's legs were masses of cuts and scrapes from numerous portages and wading through rocks.’
      • ‘At each portage, then, they're carrying maybe 250 pounds, and before they reach the end of the race they will have done maybe 25 such portages.’
      • ‘At one of the portages, Moses decided that he and Murie would run the rapids rather than carry the last canoe to calmer water.’
      • ‘The road is built over approximately 200 kilometres of lakes and portages in order to allow for transportation of fuel, housing materials and other goods required by the community.’
      • ‘Evidence of this history is visible in the graveyards, trail markers, arrowheads, and campsites dotted along the paths and portages.’
      • ‘Cruise silently through a series of idyllic lakes with connecting passages and portages.’
      • ‘It got there, through the lakes and over the portages, in the canoes of the Voyageurs.’
      • ‘When not in the canoe or assisting at the portages, Murie gathered bird specimens with shotgun or rifle, took photographs with a durable camera, and, when time allowed, sketched his subjects.’
      • ‘It often took hours for the guides to find the streams and portages that joined the ‘exceedingly complicated’ system of lakes.’
      • ‘They also hoped to find a short portage between the Marias and Saskatchewan Rivers that would allow the diversion of the western Canadian fur trade to American traders.’
      • ‘Aragorn thinks there might be a portage on the shore that will make passing the rapids easier.’
    2. 1.2archaic The action of carrying or transporting something.
      • ‘the cloister required an enormous labour of portage from the plain’
      transportation, transport, carriage, carrying, transfer, transference, movement, delivery


[with object]
  • 1Carry (a boat or its cargo) between navigable waters.

    ‘we portaged everything here’
    • ‘Without helicopter rescue, crews would have had to be self-reliant (as in the ‘old days’) through a combination of paddling and portaging boats through water and over the ice to reach land.’
    • ‘Ethel seems quite happy portaging the canoe and testing the river's depths while her husband plays ‘backseat driver.’’
    • ‘We landed upstream and portaged the heavy Fiberglass canoes past the group while they snorted, perhaps in amusement.’
    • ‘Twenty-nine days later the Corps had traveled only 20 miles; portaging the falls had taken longer than expected.’
    • ‘Anyone who's had to portage a kayak or put one on a roof rack will appreciate the lightweight boat.’
    • ‘The first obstacle was the infamous Northam Weir transpiring 500m from the start, forcing participants to carry or portage their craft.’
    • ‘So whether you're scampering up side canyons looking for hidden waterfalls, wading coastal waters in search of quahogs, or portaging an unrunnable section of river, the water shoes below will perform swimmingly.’
    • ‘Moving the boats and equipment on water was always the preferred option to portaging or carrying everything including boats overland between stretches or bodies of navigable water.’
    • ‘Many Indian and Arab traders (and after them the Europeans) chose to land their products at Mergui and use barges to travel upriver to Tenasserim and then have their good portaged the rest of the way.’
    • ‘Throughout the evening and most of the next morning, we portage an unrunnable section of the river, then load up and paddle on in a cold, steady rain.’
    • ‘The paddlers - who plan to reach the coast by May - have been forced to portage several rapids and rappel down the side of Tis Isat Falls.’
    • ‘This is a moderate river, and we're going to portage the big rapids.’
    • ‘We portage the first four-foot drop, then decide to take our chances with the rest of the Class III rapids.’
    • ‘It's obvious that the owners of the canoe are portaging, so we park nearby and walk along the shore to see if the rapid warrants our carrying as well.’
    • ‘As Clinton shouted instructions, they attempted to cross the swift 40-foot channel to the far bank, where portaging looked easier.’
    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial (of a boat) be carried between or across unnavigable waters.
      ‘the cataracts meant that boats had to portage on to the Lualaba’
      • ‘The salmon fishing, black bear, moose, and caribou sightings, and frequent stops for scouting and portaging easily turn running the Main into a weeklong wilderness adventure.’
      • ‘All told, we'd traversed some forty-eight miles, paddling and portaging.’
      • ‘The best ones have a scuff-proof cover, fold up for portaging, and join two types of foam padding.’
      • ‘So, if portaging through downtown Calgary doesn't suit you, try one or a combination of these alternatives.’
      • ‘So they ditched their treasure under a big rock and portaged to the Genesee up to Lake Ontario.’
      • ‘When we reached the next rapids, a five-foot ledge plunging into standing waves, I was ready to portage again.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, we eventually reached a tiny logjam, portaged up and over, and shoved off onto another expanse of flat brown water and giant stumps.’
      • ‘We'll put canoes into the northwestern corner of the Quetico park, and will paddle and portage in a lazy loop that will bring us back to the cars eventually.’
      • ‘At another place they were forced to portage to avoid a series of logs which had fallen into the river.’
      • ‘On our first excursion to the lakes, while paddling and portaging between the two, we noticed that the water level of Lago Sarapaio, judging by vegetation and water marks, appeared to have been static over the previous few weeks.’
      • ‘Though not an avid canoeist, she managed to convince a friend to portage through Riverdale Park (south of Broadview station) one spring for a jaunt down the infamous stream.’
      • ‘Plan on dragging and portaging as much as paddling.’
      • ‘Their 33-mile adventure took nine days of scrambling, portaging, and even swimming.’
      • ‘The raft guides assessed the rapids were too dangerous to shoot and the team would have to portage again.’
      • ‘It only weighs 65 pounds, too, so that means that I can portage across the river with it on my back and continue on my very slow way on the other side of said river.’
      • ‘I must have one pair of knee-high wool-lined boots for portaging over the pack ice in Inglefield Fjord and a full-body survival suit to insulate against the 31-degree-Fahrenheit water.’
      • ‘Attacking a thundering two-mile alley of cliffed-out whitewater they dubbed the Northeast Strait-away, the kayakers crossed from bank to bank, portaging when necessary and seal-launching into the current from huge boulders.’
      • ‘He yelled down that portaging didn't look good on his side, but Clinton pushed for us to cross anyway.’
      • ‘Jack London and his partners were among only hundreds who made it through that October of 1897, and at the last, they beat the ice by running Miles Canyon and the White Horse Rapids instead of portaging.’
      • ‘These were light, strong, fast, seaworthy, and could be portaged round falls or towed up rapids.’


Late Middle English from French, from porter ‘carry’. The sense relating to carrying between navigable waters dates from the late 17th century.