/frak"sheuhn/ , n.
a. a number usually expressed in the form a/b.
b. a ratio of algebraic quantities similarly expressed.
2. Chem. (in a volatile mixture) a component whose range of boiling point temperatures allows it to be separated from other components by fractionation.
3. a part as distinct from the whole of anything; portion or section: The meeting started with a fraction of us present.
4. a very small part or segment of anything; minute portion: Only a fraction of the work was completed on time.
5. a very small amount; a little bit: It was only a fraction away from completion.
6. a piece broken off; fragment or bit.
7. the act of breaking.
8. Eccles. (in a Eucharistic service) the breaking of the Host.
v.t. , v.i.
9. to divide or break into fractions, sections, factions, etc.: Dissension threatens to fraction the powerful union.
[ 1350-1400; ME fraccioun fraction- (s. of fractio ) a breaking (in pieces), equiv. to L fract ( us ) (ptp. of frangere to BREAK) + -ion- -ION ]
Syn. 3, 6. See part .