[ frak-shuhn ]
/ ˈfræk ʃən /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: fraction / fractions on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with or without object)
to divide or break into fractions, sections, factions, etc.: Dissension threatens to fraction the powerful union.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of fraction

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English fraccioun, from Late Latin frāctiōn- (stem of frāctiō) “a breaking (in pieces),” equivalent to Latin frāct(us) (past participle of frangere “to break, shatter”; see break) + -iōn--ion

synonym study for fraction

3, 6. See part.


sub·frac·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does fraction mean?

A fraction is any part separated or distinct from its whole, as in After the party, just a fraction of the large cake was left.

A fraction can also be a very small part of a whole, as in We only understand a fraction of how the human mind works.

In mathematics, fraction is a number that is expressed as a proportion, as 1/2 or 2/3. The number on the bottom represents the total number of parts of one unit, while the number on the top is the portion of the unit being considered. For example, in 1/2 the 2 represents two halves of one whole and the 1 represents the amount of parts being observed, in this case one.

To fraction means to divide into sections or fractions, as in Politics often fractions people into self-interested groups.

Example: That announcement is only a fraction of what’s in store tonight.

Where does fraction come from?

The first records of the term fraction come from the mid-1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin frāctiōn– meaning “a breaking into pieces.” Fraction can be used as a verb meaning “to shatter or break into a piece.”

When organizations fall apart, you might hear that they fraction off their assets or departments. These fractions can either become their own businesses, as with a large company fractioning off departments, or can be sold to other companies, as with the materials owned by the fractioning company.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to fraction?

What are some synonyms for fraction?

What are some words that share a root or word element with fraction?

What are some words that often get used in discussing fraction?

How is fraction used in real life?

While fraction is most often used in the mathematical sense, it’s also used more loosely to refer to pieces that are of undefined size.


Try using fraction!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for fraction?

A. part
B. segment
C. piece
D. all

How to use fraction in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fraction

/ (ˈfrækʃən) /

(tr) to divide

Word Origin for fraction

C14: from Late Latin fractiō a breaking into pieces, from Latin fractus broken, from frangere to break
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for fraction

[ frăkshən ]

A number that compares part of an object or a set with the whole, especially the quotient of two whole numbers written in the form ab. The fraction 12, which means 1 divided by 2, can represent such things as 10 pencils out of a box of 20, or 50 cents out of a dollar. See also decimal fraction improper fraction proper fraction.
A chemical component separated by fractionation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for fraction


A mathematical expression representing the division of one whole number by another. Usually written as two numbers separated by a horizontal or diagonal line, fractions are also used to indicate a part of a whole number or a ratio between two numbers. Fractions may have a value of less than one, as with 1/2, or equal to one, as with 2/2, or more than one, as with 3/2. The top number of a fraction is the numerator and the bottom number is the denominator.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.