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fraction

[frak-shuh n] /ˈfræk ʃən/
noun
1.
Mathematics.
  1. a number usually expressed in the form a/b.
  2. a ratio of algebraic quantities similarly expressed.
2.
Chemistry. (in a volatile mixture) a component whose range of boiling point temperatures allows it to be separated from other components by fractionation.
3.
a part as distinct from the whole of anything; portion or section:
The meeting started with a fraction of us present.
4.
a very small part or segment of anything; minute portion:
Only a fraction of the work was completed on time.
5.
a very small amount; a little bit:
It was only a fraction away from completion.
6.
a piece broken off; fragment or bit.
7.
the act of breaking.
8.
Ecclesiastical. (in a Eucharistic service) the breaking of the Host.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
9.
to divide or break into fractions, sections, factions, etc.:
Dissension threatens to fraction the powerful union.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English fraccioun < Late Latin frāctiōn- (stem of frāctiō) a breaking (in pieces), equivalent to Latin frāct(us) (past participle of frangere to break) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
subfraction, noun
Synonyms
3, 6. See part.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for fraction
  • The unpaved section is a fraction of the total distance but takes a disproportionate amount of time.
  • The guess is then that fraction multiplied by the number of airplanes in, say, the current ten- or fifteen-minute window.
  • If they did, they couldn't afford to hire even a fraction of the number of adjuncts that they need.
  • Two are astronomical: the fraction of stars with planets and the mean number of habitable planets per star.
  • The problem crops up when you look at the number of job gains as a fraction of losses.
  • If only a tiny fraction of that number came back and became subscribers, circulation would explode.
  • He multiplies the number of people born each year by his own age and by the fraction who are in his age range.
  • It is a significant sum but a relatively small fraction of the world's total economic output.
  • Yet for the small fraction of faculty members who do encounter such pressures, academic freedom makes a major difference.
  • It's not how many divorces you have in total, but the fraction of marriages ending in divorce.
British Dictionary definitions for fraction

fraction

/ˈfrækʃən/
noun
1.
(maths)
  1. a ratio of two expressions or numbers other than zero
  2. any rational number that is not an integer
2.
any part or subdivision a substantial fraction of the nation
3.
a small piece; fragment
4.
(chem) a component of a mixture separated by a fractional process, such as fractional distillation
5.
(Christianity) the formal breaking of the bread in Communion
6.
the act of breaking
verb
7.
(transitive) to divide
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin fractiō a breaking into pieces, from Latin fractus broken, from frangere to break
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fraction
n.

late 14c., originally in the mathematical sense, from Anglo-French fraccioun (Old French fraccion, 12c., "breaking") and directly from Late Latin fractionem (nominative fractio) "a breaking," especially into pieces, noun of action from past participle stem of Latin frangere "to break," from PIE root *bhreg- "to break" (cf. Sanskrit (giri)-bhraj "breaking-forth (out of the mountains);" Gothic brikan, Old English brecan "to break;" Lithuanian brasketi "crash, crack;" Old Irish braigim "break" wind). Meaning "a breaking or dividing" is from early 15c.; sense of "broken off piece, fragment," is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fraction in Medicine

fraction frac·tion (frāk'shən)
n.

  1. An expression that indicates the quotient of two quantities.

  2. A chemical component separated by fractionation.

  3. A disconnected piece; a fragment.

  4. An aliquot portion or any portion.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fraction in Science
fraction
  (frāk'shən)   
  1. A number that compares part of an object or a set with the whole, especially the quotient of two whole numbers written in the form a/b. The fraction 1/2 , which means 1 divided by 2, can represent such things as 10 pencils out of a box of 20, or 50 cents out of a dollar. See also decimal fraction, improper fraction, proper fraction.

  2. A chemical component separated by fractionation.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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fraction in Culture

fraction definition


A mathematical expression representing the division of one whole number by another. Usually written as two numbers separated by a horizontal or diagonal line, fractions are also used to indicate a part of a whole number or a ratio between two numbers. Fractions may have a value of less than one, as with 1/2, or equal to one, as with 2/2, or more than one, as with 3/2. The top number of a fraction is the numerator and the bottom number is the denominator.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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