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

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Synonyms for fraction


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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 Fortunately, gun makers in Spain’s Basque region learned to copy British best guns at a fraction of the cost starting in the 1950s. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "The 10 Best Upland Shotguns Ever Made," 10 Jan. 2020 And because synthesizing drugs is cheaper and more reliable than farming plants, they can be produced at a fraction of the cost. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Synthetic opioids like fentanyl ravaged the US during the last decade. They may do even more damage to Asia in the next," 29 Dec. 2019 These can be reused for years, and a small amount of dish soap will go a long way — all the benefits of foaming soap at a tiny fraction of the cost. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Dealing with a gas leak," 26 Dec. 2019 Intel was doing a great business selling 286 chips to clone companies, and buyers were excited to snap up 100 percent compatible AT clones at a fraction of IBM’s price. Jeremy Reimer, Ars Technica, "Half an operating system: The triumph and tragedy of OS/2," 29 Nov. 2019 That’s lots of hair perfection at a fraction of the price. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "These Are The Black-Owned Beauty Sales We're Shopping This Black Friday," 28 Nov. 2019 Although Black Friday isn’t technically until November 29, Amazon shoppers can snag special deals on everything from home essentials to clothing to toys—at a fraction of their usual prices—from now through November 21. Christie Calucchia, Southern Living, "Amazon Is Kicking Off Black Friday Deals Early This Year—Here’s What to Shop," 4 Nov. 2019 Total Expert Score: 77/100 Get all the smart features of the Nest Learning at a fraction of the cost. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The 6 Best Smart Thermostats to Save Energy This Winter," 1 Nov. 2019 In marketing materials and contract bids, G4S sells itself as the world's premier security company – a private army of experienced guards ready and able to protect people at a fraction of the cost of police. USA Today, "A security empire deployed guards with violent pasts across the U.S. Some went on to rape, assault or kill," 31 Oct. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for fraction

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fraction

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fraction.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for fraction


How to pronounce fraction (audio)

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

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