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To divide and distribute small portions of something in order to make it last as long as possible. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ration" and "out." We have to ration out the stew if we're going to feed all these guests. The foreign aid group has been rationing out food and water to the refugees. Because of a problem with the supplier, we've had to ration paper out among students.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
ration something out (among someone)
to give people limited shares of something, attempting to make it last as long as possible. The captain rationed the water out among all the crew, trying to make it last as long as possible. Jane rationed out the cookies among the kids.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
To distribute a fixed portion of something, especially food that is allotted to persons in military service or to civilians in times of scarcity: The government rationed out flour and sugar during the war. The hikers had very little water and had to ration it out carefully.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.