[frak-shuh n]


verb (used with or without object)

to divide or break into fractions, sections, factions, etc.: Dissension threatens to fraction the powerful union.

Origin of fraction

1350–1400; Middle English fraccioun < Late Latin frāctiōn- (stem of frāctiō) a breaking (in pieces), equivalent to Latin frāct(us) (past participle of frangere to break) + -iōn- -ion
Related formssub·frac·tion, noun

Synonyms for fraction

3, 6. See part. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fractions

Contemporary Examples of fractions

Historical Examples of fractions

  • Further, each particle will have the appearance of being equal with the fractions.

  • Now, fractions of a millisecond later, the Lady May was directly in line.

  • We have herds of fractions of men, acting as fractions of men and not as human beings.

  • On fractionating, the melting-points of the fractions were found to lie between 146° and 153°.

  • "You'll have no fractions at my side anyhow," says the Pope.

British Dictionary definitions for fractions



  1. a ratio of two expressions or numbers other than zero
  2. any rational number that is not an integer
any part or subdivisiona substantial fraction of the nation
a small piece; fragment
chem a component of a mixture separated by a fractional process, such as fractional distillation
Christianity the formal breaking of the bread in Communion
the act of breaking


(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

Word Origin and History for fractions



late 14c., originally in the mathematical sense, from Anglo-French fraccioun (Old French fraccion, 12c., "breaking") and directly from Late Latin fractionem (nominative fractio) "a breaking," especially into pieces, noun of action from past participle stem of Latin frangere "to break," from PIE root *bhreg- "to break" (cf. Sanskrit (giri)-bhraj "breaking-forth (out of the mountains);" Gothic brikan, Old English brecan "to break;" Lithuanian brasketi "crash, crack;" Old Irish braigim "break" wind). Meaning "a breaking or dividing" is from early 15c.; sense of "broken off piece, fragment," is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fractions in Medicine




An expression that indicates the quotient of two quantities.
A chemical component separated by fractionation.
A disconnected piece; a fragment.
An aliquot portion or any portion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

fractions in Science



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.

fractions in Culture


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.