fraction

noun
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

Synonyms

bit, fragment, piece, scrap

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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

German demand makes up a minor fraction of the world’s oil consumption; the country was the 10th largest oil consumer in 2016, accounting for 2% of the global total, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "The Weak Spot in the Oil Market That Traders Are Missing," 12 Feb. 2019 Ethnic Japanese made up about 40 percent of Hawaii’s residents, but only a fraction of them, about 1,500, were sent to internment camps. Tyrone Beason / Columnist, The Seattle Times, "Kazuo Yamane’s WWII story shows the lengths to which some must go to prove their loyalty to America," 11 Nov. 2018 Yet living donors make up a fraction of transplants, and their numbers have plateaued amid barriers that can block otherwise willing people from giving. Fox News, "Doctors explore lifting barriers to living organ donation," 10 Sep. 2018 With MBSs suddenly worth a fraction of their previous value, bondholders wanted to collect on their CDSs from AIG, which sent the company under. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "10 years after the financial crisis, is the housing market still at risk?," 29 Aug. 2018 This discovery is a big deal because cratonic roots make up a significant fraction of our planet’s crust. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Find 'Quadrillions' of Tons of Diamonds Beneath Earth's Surface," 16 July 2018 Steel and aluminum make up a tiny fraction of the overall trade: U.S. steel imports from all countries totaled about $29 billion in 2016 — a fifth of that from the EU. Kate Linthicum, latimes.com, "U.S. allies retaliate after Trump lets steel tariffs take effect for Europe, Mexico and Canada," 31 May 2018 Brain cancer makes up only a tiny fraction of new cancer diagnoses each year. Beth Kassab, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Your practical guide to knowing someone with a brain tumor," 31 May 2018 That could suggest an infection — but in her tests a quarter of those white blood cells were a cell type known as eosinophils, which normally make up only a tiny fraction of the white blood cells in the circulation. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, "Why Did the Young Woman’s Heartburn Keep Getting Worse?," 16 May 2018

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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Statistics for fraction

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for fraction

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

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More Definitions for fraction

fraction

noun

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

fraction

noun
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.

fraction

noun
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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