Definition of fraction in US English:



  • 1A numerical quantity that is not a whole number (e.g. 1/2, 0.5).

    • ‘Others would rewrite the fractions using common denominators.’
    • ‘Column addition was performed on whole numbers and then on fractions.’
    • ‘The math course consists of five subject areas: understanding numbers, using whole numbers, using decimals, using fractions and per cents, and working with data.’
    • ‘These most rarely occurring topics were: angles in a quadrilateral, fractions, fraction multiplication, properties of triangles, and the Pythagorean theorem.’
    • ‘Although all these fractions are written differently, they all represent the same quantity.’
    • ‘You may have to multiply both fractions by different numbers to produce the same denominator for both fractions.’
    • ‘The aim of the first part is to introduce the Hindu numerals, to explain a place value system and to describe addition, multiplication and other arithmetic operations on integers and fractions in both decimal and sexagesimal notation.’
    • ‘In other words, a number is rational if we can write it as a fraction where the numerator and denominator are both integers.’
    • ‘Possibly as a consequence of that, the Greek mathematicians thought of fractions in terms of ratios of integers, rather than numbers.’
    • ‘What are the rules for converting fractions to binary and octal and vice versa?’
    • ‘They should also be able to understand basic maths and geometry, including fractions, decimals, multiplication and division.’
    • ‘Sometimes when working with fractions, the hardest thing to find is a common denominator.’
    • ‘To convert a fraction to a percentage, divide the numerator by the denominator.’
    • ‘Specifically, children's responses to the less familiar quantities of zero and fractions could shed light on their performance with the more familiar whole numbers.’
    • ‘Use the method above to convert it into a fraction with whole numbers in the denominator.’
    • ‘The Mathematics Computation subtest assesses skills in computing with whole numbers, fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, and algebraic equations.’
    • ‘Basic operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals were required to solve some problems, although many items required no calculations.’
    • ‘Students added several combinations of wood in whole numbers and mixed fractions as they tested the most economical ways to use the lumber.’
    • ‘The line between the numerator and denominator is known as the fraction bar.’
    • ‘It looks first at area problems, then looks at rules for the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions.’
  • 2A small or tiny part, amount, or proportion of something.

    ‘he hesitated for a fraction of a second’
    ‘her eyes widened a fraction’
    • ‘However, the true cost is a fraction of this amount.’
    • ‘Joule also invented extremely precise thermometers, which could measure temperature changes to within fractions of a degree Fahrenheit.’
    • ‘They had acquired the land for a tiny fraction of that amount.’
    • ‘The victim would be left with only £5,000-a fraction of the amount intended to cover his pain and suffering.’
    • ‘If they did, the insurance company would have been charged a fraction of that amount.’
    • ‘Turns out that he produces some rather wonderful music consisting almost entirely of samples, usually only a fraction of a second long.’
    • ‘Each of those putative atoms of element 115 disintegrated within fractions of a second by spontaneously ejecting an alpha particle, which contains two protons and two neutrons.’
    • ‘The council currently spends a fraction of this amount on all its other roads combined.’
    • ‘The parasitic wasp is quite tiny, only a fraction of the size of an adult fly.’
    • ‘Her eyes rest on me for a second, and I swear I can see a tiny ghost of a smile for a fraction of a second.’
    • ‘The new process allowed mass production using a fraction of the amount of silver thereby reducing costs.’
    • ‘That amount was only a fraction of the true value of the business, according to farmers of the former co-op.’
    • ‘Her goal was $60,000 but she was only able to get a fraction of that amount.’
    • ‘He said hundreds of lives could be saved on the roads every year for a fraction of the amount being spent on rail safety.’
    • ‘Fortunately, a salvage unit was available, at a fraction of that amount.’
    • ‘It's only a fraction of the amount of money necessary to attend most private schools.’
    • ‘In terms of proportion, only a fraction of local cotton is transformed and exported as finished goods.’
    • ‘No one would ever notice a fraction of a cent but with the amount of financial transactions going on those fractions mounted up.’
    • ‘In this way hundreds of small adjustments can be made in a fraction of the time needed by more traditional methods.’
    • ‘Only a fraction of the huge amount of money we pay in road taxes is put into the maintenance and building of roads.’
    tiny part, small part, fragment, snippet, snatch, smattering, selection
    tiny amount, little, bit, touch, hint, soupçon, trifle, mite, scrap, dash, spot, modicum, shade, jot
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A dissenting group within a larger one.
      • ‘Today's Muslim is put under the spotlight and has been critically scrutinized not only by the non-Muslim communities' worldwide but also from fractions within our own community.’
      • ‘The following year a follow up album was released, Time and a Word, by which time fractions were beginning to open up within the ranks of the band as the battle for leadership started.’
      • ‘It is more than simply a political alliance between social forces represented by classes or fractions of classes.’
      • ‘I think they are likely to lead to conflicts between fragments and fractions within ruling corporate elites.’
      • ‘The lower middle class experiences deprivation relative to the new middle class fractions above them in terms of wealth, power, and prestige.’
      • ‘Class fractions are a fundamental feature of corporate capitalism and can become particularly potent fault lines.’
      • ‘Most relevant to this essay is Bourdieu's idea of social class fractions that depend on the composition of their three capitals, cultural, social, and economic.’
      • ‘On the other hand, we can see very clearly the fractions within the hardliner camp, again in contrast to what the pro-participation group is saying.’
      • ‘Revisionists distinguished between fractions of the ruling class in a significant way.’
      • ‘These shifts did not occur without inner turmoil and conflict, and many fractions continue to struggle within the party today.’
      • ‘For those unversed in the fractions and factions of Labour local politics, here is a glossary.’
      • ‘Fundamentalism attracts different class fractions across cultural locales in a common struggle against a diminishing or diminished social status, influence, and power.’
      • ‘The state, then, is the condensation of a hegemonic relationship between dominant classes and class fractions.’
      • ‘The Greens have their pro and anti-capitalist fractions and are working though the issue.’
  • 3Chemistry
    Each of the portions into which a mixture may be separated by a process in which the individual components behave differently according to their physical properties.

    • ‘The ethyl acetate of the combined organic fractions was evaporated under reduced pressure.’
    • ‘Soluble and insoluble fractions were separated by centrifugation at 8 000 g for 30 min at the extraction temperature.’
    • ‘The acetone and methanol fractions were combined and dried under nitrogen.’
    • ‘Benzene is manufactured industrially by dehydrogenation and dealkylation of appropriate fractions of petroleum.’
    • ‘Both are produced by refining crude oil, but the kerosene fraction of the oil is a little heavier.’
    • ‘After incubation, the samples were treated as above, and the supernatant fractions were lyophilized.’
    • ‘This is a generic term for the light hydrocarbon fractions found associated with most oil deposits.’
    • ‘The cell lysate was then centrifuged at 27 000 g for 30 min at 4°C and the soluble and insoluble fractions were separated through a syringe.’
    • ‘The gum arabic fractions were collected separately and extracted with water/chloroform.’
    • ‘The aqueous, ethanol and ethyl acetate fractions were slowly evaporated to dryness under vacuum and stored at 4 degreesC for biological study.’
    • ‘Of course, there is some overlap of the boiling points and molecular size for these fractions.’
    • ‘The resulting soluble organic fractions were analysed for polynuclear aromatic compounds and tested for mutagenic effects.’
    • ‘Oil refining separates the various fractions of petroleum by a process called fractional distillation and takes place in a large plant called a refinery.’
    • ‘Total lipid extracts were separated into neutral and polar lipid fractions by column chromatography on Florisil 60-100 mesh.’
    • ‘The majority of the manufacturing is from the catalytic cracking of ethane, petroleum fractions, and crude oil.’
    • ‘The supernatant and the precipitate fractions were separated.’
    • ‘Cells were collected 48 hr later, and nuclear and cytoplastic fractions were separated.’
  • 4usually the Fraction(in the Christian Church) the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.


Late Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin fractio(n-) ‘breaking (bread)’, from Latin frangere ‘to break’.