# Fraction

From Nordan Symposia

## Origins

OF. fraccion (Fr. fraction), ad. eccl.L. fractin-em, n. of action f. frangre to break.]

## Definitions

- 1. The action of breaking:

- a. in the Eucharist: the breaking or dividing of the bread.
- b. with reference to material things in general, and to lines, etc.; also, refraction (of light). Obs.
- c. with reference to immaterial things; chiefly in obsolete uses, e.g. a disturbance (of the mind), an infraction or rupture (of the peace).

- 2. The result of breaking; the state of being broken; a broken place, breach, fissure, rupture; spec. in Surg. a fracture. Obs.

- 3. An interruption of good feeling or harmony; discord, dissension; a rupture. In early use also: A breach of the peace, brawling. Obs.

- 4. a. Something broken off; a disconnected portion; a fragment, scrap, small piece. Said with reference both to material and immaterial things. by fractions: piecemeal, by halves. Now rare.

- b. ? A paragraph or section (of a book). Obs.

- 5. Mathematics

- a. Arithmetic. A numerical quantity that is not an integer; one or more aliquot parts of a unit or whole number; an expression for a definite portion of a unit or magnitude.

common or vulgar fractions are those in which the numerator and denominator are represented by numbers placed the one above, the other below, a horizontal line. Sometimes fraction is used for ‘vulgar fraction’, or for a quantity expressed by means of a numerator and denominator; e.g. ‘the fraction = 2’. For complex, compound, continued, decimal, proper and improper fractions, see those words.

- b. Algebra. An expression analogous to an arithmetical vulgar fraction, in which the numerator and denominator are algebraical terms or expressions.

- 6. A portion of a section (sense 2e (b)) of land. U.S.
- 7. Any one of the portions, differing in physical or chemical properties, into which a mixture may be separated, esp. by physical methods.
- 8. In Communist use: see quots. 1922 and 1927. Also, a deviant or schismatic group. Hence fractionism, the views or policies of such a group; fractionist, a member or adherent of such a group. Also (all forms) transf. Cf. FRACTIONAL a. c. Hence fraction v., to break into fractions or pieces. fractionlet, a small fragment.