Fractious vs fraction

Fractious and fraction are two words that are spelled and pronounced similarly and are sometimes confused, though they have different meanings and are different parts of speech. We will examine the definitions of fractious and fraction, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Fractious means quarrelsome, difficult to control, irritable, hard to handle. Usually, the word fractious is applied to children who are out of sorts. Fractious is an adjective, related words are the adverb fractiously and the noun fractiousness. Interestingly, the word fractious is derived from the word fraction. An obsolete meaning of the word fraction is discord, fighting, quarrelsomeness. This definition of the word fraction is preserved in the word fractious.

A fraction is a quantity that is a portion of a whole, it is expressed as numerical ratio using a numerator over a denominator. The word fraction is also used in a more general sense to mean a small part of something or a small proportion. Fraction is a noun, the plural form is fractions and the adjective form is fractional. The word fraction is derived from the Latin word frangere which means to break.


The pair won four consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles together at the turn of the decade but the relationship has been fractious since a new 1.6 liter V6 turbo hybrid power unit was introduced in 2014. (Reuters)

A couple will only have to pay back a small fraction of the massive losses they caused to Talley’s Fisheries through their bogus tale of a family tragedy. (The Taranaki Daily News)

The best thing about the crowded smartphone market is mid-range devices offering high-end quality at a fraction of the cost. (The New Zealand HErald)



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