Definition of fraction in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfrakSH(ə)n/


1A numerical quantity that is not a whole number (e.g., 1/2, 0.5).
Example sentences
  • The Mathematics Computation subtest assesses skills in computing with whole numbers, fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, and algebraic equations.
  • Use the method above to convert it into a fraction with whole numbers in the denominator.
  • Basic operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals were required to solve some problems, although many items required no calculations.
1.1A small or tiny part, amount, or proportion of something: he hesitated for a fraction of a second her eyes widened a fraction
More example sentences
  • Her goal was $60,000 but she was only able to get a fraction of that amount.
  • It's only a fraction of the amount of money necessary to attend most private schools.
  • If they did, the insurance company would have been charged a fraction of that amount.
tiny part, fragment, snippet, snatch, smattering, selection
tiny amount, little, bit, touch, soupçon, trifle, mite, shade, jot
informal smidgen, smidge, tad
1.2A dissenting group within a larger one.
Example sentences
  • On the other hand, we can see very clearly the fractions within the hardliner camp, again in contrast to what the pro-participation group is saying.
  • Today's Muslim is put under the spotlight and has been critically scrutinized not only by the non-Muslim communities' worldwide but also from fractions within our own community.
  • The state, then, is the condensation of a hegemonic relationship between dominant classes and class fractions.
1.3Each of the portions into which a mixture may be separated by a process in which the individual components behave differently according to their physical properties.
Example sentences
  • The aqueous, ethanol and ethyl acetate fractions were slowly evaporated to dryness under vacuum and stored at 4 degreesC for biological study.
  • The majority of the manufacturing is from the catalytic cracking of ethane, petroleum fractions, and crude oil.
  • Oil refining separates the various fractions of petroleum by a process called fractional distillation and takes place in a large plant called a refinery.
2 (usually the Fraction) (In the Christian Church) the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.


Late Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin fractio(n-) 'breaking (bread)', from Latin frangere 'to break'.

  • Medieval mathematicians called numbers that were not whole numbers fractions. The name came from Latin frangere ‘to break’, also the root of fracture, fragile, and fragment (all LME), and ultimately of frail (Middle English). People who struggled to learn about fractions may not be surprised to learn that the word is also linked to fractious (early 18th century), or ‘bad-tempered’.

Words that rhyme with fraction

abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: frac·tion

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