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Quotient of two values. The ratio of a to b can be written a:b or as the fraction a/b. In either case, a is the antecedent and b the consequent. Ratios arise whenever comparisons are made. They are usually reduced to lowest terms for simplicity. Thus, a school with 1,000 students and 50 teachers has a student/teacher ratio of 20 to 1. The ratio of the width to the height of a rectangle is called an aspect ratio, an example of which is the golden ratio of classical architecture. When two ratios are set equal to each other, the resulting equation is called a proportion.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on ratio, visit Britannica.com.