American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


FRAC'TION, noun [Latin fractio, frango, fractus, to break. See Break.]

1. The act of breaking or state of being broken, especially by violence.

2. In arithmetic and algebra, a broken part of an integral or integer; any division of a whole number or unit, as 2/5, two fifths, 1/4, one fourth, which are called vulgar fractions. In these, the figure above the line is called the numerator, and the figure below the line the denominator. In decimal fractions, the denominator is a unit, or 1, with as many cyphers annexed, as the numerator has places. They are commonly expressed by writing the numerator only, with a point before it by which it is separated from the whole number; thus .5, which denotes five tenths, 5/10, or half the whole number; .25, that is 25/100, or a fourth part of the whole number.