From Middle English fraccioun (a breaking), from Anglo-Norman, from Old French, from Medieval Latin fractio (a fragment, portion), from earlier Latin fractio (a breaking, a breaking into pieces), from fractus (English fracture), past participle of frangere (to break) (whence English frangible), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰreg- (English break).



fraction (plural fractions)

  1. A part of a whole, especially a comparatively small part.
    • 1992, Rudolf M. Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, page vii
      With fresh material, taxonomic conclusions are leavened by recognition that the material examined reflects the site it occupied; a herbarium packet gives one only a small fraction of the data desirable for sound conclusions. Herbarium material does not, indeed, allow one to extrapolate safely: what you see is what you get []
  2. A ratio of two numbers, the numerator and the denominator, usually written one above the other and separated by a horizontal bar.
  3. (chemistry) A component of a mixture, separated by fractionation.
  4. In a eucharistic service, the breaking of the host.
  5. A small amount.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, in The Celebrity:
      I had occasion […] to make a somewhat long business trip to Chicago, and on my return […] I found Farrar awaiting me in the railway station. He smiled his wonted fraction by way of greeting, […], and finally leading me to his buggy, turned and drove out of town.
    • 2011 January 29, Chris Bevan, “Torquay 0-1 Crawley Town”, in BBC:
      After kick-off was delayed because of crowd congestion, Torquay went closest to scoring in a cagey opening 30 minutes, when Danny Stevens saw a fierce shot from the edge of the area swerve a fraction wide.
  6. The act of breaking, or state of being broken, especially by violence.
    • Foxe
      Neither can the natural body of Christ be subject to any fraction or breaking up.


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fraction (third-person singular simple present fractions, present participle fractioning, simple past and past participle fractioned)

  1. To divide or break into fractions.



  • fraction” in Unabridged:, LLC, 1995–.
  • fraction” in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.
  • "fraction" in WordNet 2.0, Princeton University, 2003.




fraction f (plural fractions)

  1. fraction (small amount)
    Je me suis endormi pendant une fraction de secondes.
  2. (mathematics) fraction
    En divisant deux par trois, on obtient une fraction irréductible.
  3. fraction, breakup

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