The spelling of the term "vulgar fraction" is quite easy to remember once you understand its pronunciation. According to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), this term is pronounced as / ˈvʌlɡər ˈfrækʃən /, where the first syllable "vulgar" is pronounced as "vuhl-guhr" and the second syllable "fraction" is pronounced as "frak-shuh n". A vulgar fraction is simply a fraction that is expressed as a ratio of integers, with the numerator being smaller than the denominator. It is also known as a common fraction or simple fraction.
A vulgar fraction, also known as a common fraction or simple fraction, is a mathematical term referring to a representation of a rational number in the form of a numerator and a denominator. In a vulgar fraction, the numerator is an integer or a whole number, while the denominator is a nonzero natural number.
The term "vulgar" in this context does not imply rudeness or indecency; rather, it originates from the Latin word "vulgaris" meaning "common" or "ordinary." This is because vulgar fractions are the most commonly used and easily comprehensible way to express fractional values.
Vulgar fractions can be used to represent various quantities, such as parts of a whole or ratios between two quantities. The numerator represents the number of equal parts being considered, while the denominator indicates the total number of equal parts into which the whole is divided.
For example, in the fraction 3/4, the number three is the numerator, denoting that three equal parts are being considered. The number four is the denominator, signifying that the whole is divided into four equal parts. Thus, the fraction 3/4 represents three-fourths of the whole.
Vulgar fractions can be further manipulated through operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, enabling precise calculations and comparisons between fractional values. Overall, vulgar fractions serve as a fundamental tool in mathematics to express and work with rational numbers.
The term "vulgar fraction" has its origins in the Latin word "vulgus", which means "the common people" or "the masses". In ancient Rome, fractions were divided into two categories: "vulgaris fractio" (common fraction) and "mensura fractio" (measuring fraction).
The term "vulgar" in this context does not carry the modern negative connotation of being crude or offensive. Instead, it refers to fractions that were used by the general population for daily calculations as opposed to more specialized or complex fractions used in measurement or specific fields of study.
Over time, the term "vulgar fraction" came to be used in English to describe any fraction that is not a decimal, percentage, or mixed number.