frac·​tion | \ ˈfrak-shən How to pronounce fraction (audio) \

Definition of fraction

1a : a numerical representation (such as ³/₄, ⁵/₈, or 3.234) indicating the quotient of two numbers
b(1) : a piece broken off : fragment
(2) : a discrete unit : portion
2 : one of several portions (as of a distillate) separable by fractionation
3 : bit, little a fraction closer

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for fraction


bit, fragment, piece, scrap

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of fraction in a Sentence

a fraction of an inch if even a tiny fraction of that cookie broke off and fell into the delicate watch works, it could mess things up

Recent Examples on the Web

The price is a fraction of what other companies charge for their game subscription services: PlayStation's PS Now costs $19.99 a month; and Microsoft's Game Pass runs $9.99 for PC or Xbox, or $14.99 for both. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "Sizing Up Apple Arcade, the Newest Contender in the Game Subscription Category," 11 Sep. 2019 Rainfall is forecast to be just a fraction of an inch in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Jeff Parrott, Anchorage Daily News, "Remnants of two typhoons will bring wind and rain to Southcentral Alaska," 11 Sep. 2019 Bringing in Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes saw their overall outlay rise to €902m, but this summer's arrivals are only a fraction of their total costs., "The 10 Most Expensive Squads in World Football," 10 Sep. 2019 The Pentagon’s spending on AI is a fraction of the $20bn-30bn that was spent by large technology firms in 2016. The Economist, "Artificial intelligence is changing every aspect of war," 7 Sep. 2019 The total budget of all the internet safety, privacy and security groups combined doesn’t come close to that amount and isn’t even a fraction of the $5 billion fine that Facebook recently paid as the result of an FTC settlement. Larry Magid, The Mercury News, "Magid: YouTube settlement has unintended consequence," 6 Sep. 2019 Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, which are administered together, rival Yosemite for natural wonders, often with a fraction of the company. Los Angeles Times, "Escapes: Better than Yosemite? These 2 parks may be," 5 Sep. 2019 And while hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic are produced annually, only a small fraction of it is recycled. Taylor Telford, Washington Post, "Marriott says it’s done with tiny, plastic toiletry bottles," 28 Aug. 2019 John Goodwin, senior director of the Stop Puppy Mills campaign for the Humane Society of the U.S., said dog and cat sales account for a small fraction of the multibillion-dollar pet industry. Michael Kunzelman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Maryland pet stores sue to block state ban on dog, cat sales," 26 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fraction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fraction

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fraction

Middle English fraccioun "act or result of breaking, mathematical fraction," borrowed from Medieval Latin frāctiōn-, frāctiō "breaking, division into parts, mathematical fraction," going back to Late Latin, "breaking, weariness, illness," from Latin frag-, variant stem of frangere "to break, shatter" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at break entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fraction

Statistics for fraction

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fraction

The first known use of fraction was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fraction



English Language Learners Definition of fraction

mathematics : a number (such as ¹/₂ or ³/₄) which indicates that one number is being divided by another also : a number (such as 3.323) that consists of a whole number and a decimal
: a part or amount of something


frac·​tion | \ ˈfrak-shən How to pronounce fraction (audio) \

Kids Definition of fraction

1 : a number (as ¹/₂, ²/₃, ¹⁷/₁₀₀) that indicates one or more equal parts of a whole or group and that may be considered as indicating also division of the number above the line by the number below the line
2 : a part of a whole : fragment I sold the car for a fraction of what I paid for it.


frac·​tion | \ ˈfrak-shən How to pronounce fraction (audio) \

Medical Definition of fraction

: one of several portions (as of a distillate) separable by fractionation gamma globulin is a fraction of blood plasma

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fraction

What made you want to look up fraction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!