Give Me a Break!: Fract and Frag

Break new ground with this list of words derived from the Latin verb frangere, "to break, shatter, or fracture."

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. diffract
    undergo diffraction
    In the following experiment we'll set up two slits to give waves of light the opportunity to diffract as they travel through them.Scientific American (Dec 12, 2013)
  2. diffraction
    process by which light changes passing through a narrow slit
    Many properties of light, including diffraction, are naturally explained by the wave theory, and in subsequent years Huygens’ view carried the day.Cosmos
  3. fractal
    (mathematics) a geometric pattern that is repeated at every scale and so cannot be represented by classical geometry
    The image is fun and a little silly but also an example of a fractal—detailed pattern shows self-similar shapes at different scales.Scientific American (Dec 19, 2012)
  4. fraction
    a small part or item forming a piece of a whole
    Even if I completed the trail, I thought at that moment, I would never see the smallest fraction of what I could see.Washington Post (Feb 18, 2016)
  5. fractious
    stubbornly resistant to authority or control
    But the notoriously fractious opposition is also split into many parties, diluting support.New York Times (Sep 18, 2016)
  6. fracture
    breaking of hard tissue such as bone
    He wound up in the hospital with a minor hip fracture and a shattered thumb.Unbroken
  7. fragile
    easily broken or damaged or destroyed
    Bowls, if not too fragile, may with care be piled one within the other.Cox, George J.
  8. fragility
    the quality of being easily damaged or destroyed
    And, naturally, all of us—in one way or another—fear our fragility, and the fact that life is fleeting and incredibly delicate.The New Yorker (Apr 24, 2017)
  9. fragment
    a piece broken off or cut off of something else
    As always, the plaza area was littered with a thousand fragments of recently torn-up parking tickets that looked like muddy stars.The Milagro Beanfield War
  10. fragmentation
    the separation of something into pieces or particles
    The fragmentation of the image is almost Cubist, allowing us to see the whole of Pryor’s performance only in parts.Los Angeles Times (Sep 20, 2015)
  11. frangible
    capable of being broken
    A frangible bullet breaks into smaller pieces when it strikes an object harder than it.Salon (Feb 7, 2016)
  12. infraction
    a violation of a law or rule
    At school in Taipei she was often punished for dress-code infractions: letting her hair hang past her earlobes or failing to wear school-issued white socks.New York Times (Apr 21, 2010)
  13. refract
    subject to change in direction of a propagating wave
    Though no sunlight will fall directly on the moon, its surface will be illuminated by light rays that refract through Earth’s atmosphere.The Guardian (Sep 24, 2015)
  14. refraction
    the change in direction of a propagating wave
    When a ray of light enters a material medium, it changes direction, in a phenomenon known as refraction.Scientific American (Jan 11, 2011)
  15. refractory
    stubbornly resistant to authority or control
    Taxation is, in fact, the most difficult function of the government, and that against which their citizens are most apt to be refractory.Chinard, Gilbert

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.