a number usually expressed in the form a/b.
a ratio of algebraic quantities similarly expressed.
Chemistry. (in a volatile mixture) a component whose range of boiling point temperatures allows it to be separated from other components by fractionation.
a part as distinct from the whole of anything; portion or section: The meeting started with a fraction of us present.
a very small part or segment of anything; minute portion: Only a fraction of the work was completed on time.
a very small amount; a little bit: It was only a fraction away from completion.
a piece broken off; fragment or bit.
the act of breaking.
Ecclesiastical. (in a Eucharistic service) the breaking of the Host.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to divide or break into fractions, sections, factions, etc.: Dissension threatens to fraction the powerful union.

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

subfraction, noun

3, 6. See part. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fraction (ˈfrækʃən)
1.  maths
 a.  a ratio of two expressions or numbers other than zero
 b.  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
7.  (tr) to divide
[C14: from Late Latin fractiō a breaking into pieces, from Latin fractus broken, from frangere to break]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from L.L. fractionem (nom. fractio) "a breaking," especially into pieces, from root of L. frangere (pt. fregi) "to break," from PIE base *bhr(e)g- (cf. Skt. (giri)-bhraj "breaking-forth (out of the mountains);" Goth. brikan, O.E. brecan "to break;" Lith. brasketi "crash, crack;" O.Ir. braigim
"break" wind). Mathematical sense was the original one in English. Sense of "broken off piece, fragment," is from c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

fraction frac·tion (frāk'shən)

  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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
fraction  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (frāk'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
  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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
Each color rod represents a different length, and they are used to help
  elementary students master simple addition and fractions.
In rare cases, he said, small fractions of premiums helped to finance student
  health services.
The other day, one of our math faculty bemoaned the fact that incoming students
  could not add fractions.
In the process of cutting the mold by hand, the size was off by mere fractions
  of an inch.
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