Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In programming I use values between 0 and 1 to represent percentages but the word percent means "one part in every hundred" (0-100). I've also heard people use permil for 'one part in every thousand" (0-1000).

In the past I've used the variable name perun in my code which is a made up word and most likely wouldn't make sense to others without being explained.

So my question: Is there a word that represents a value 0-1 similar to how percent represents a value 0-100?

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by Jasper Loy, simchona, KitFox, kiamlaluno, aedia λ Sep 1 '11 at 17:38

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What's wrong with "fraction"? I do use phrases like "the fraction of events in which this happens is about 0.5". –  ShreevatsaR Sep 1 '11 at 5:16
There is absolutely a technical term for values between 0 and 1, I learned it years ago while studying splines. I'll see if I can track it down for you. –  Jordaan Mylonas Sep 1 '11 at 5:52
You might be interested in the commentary on this closed question. –  KitFox Sep 1 '11 at 11:50
proportion ? –  GEdgar Sep 1 '11 at 14:45
Even if there isn't a word for it, it doesn't mean the question is not a real question. It's a real question even if the answer is "no". Though in that case I'd expect the answer to offer alternatives that would work instead. –  Mark Byers Jun 2 '12 at 6:24

4 Answers 4

The word you are looking for is "fraction". A "fraction" is a number that represents the quotient of two numbers or a numeric quantity that is not a whole number. It can also simply mean a part broken off from the whole. Two online dictionaries give ".2" and "0.5" as examples of fractions.

share|improve this answer
While you are not wrong I was specifically asking for alternatives to the word "fraction". –  rennat Mar 24 at 19:44

Perhaps, "decimal fraction" :

1.(arithmetic) The fractional part of a decimal number: the digits to the right of the decimal point.

Thus, a "decimal fraction" would refer to numbers smaller than one, but greater than zero

share|improve this answer
if he's looking for the non-interger part of a floating point number, then modulo could be used as well. –  user12549 Sep 1 '11 at 5:21

For such a value there is no word (no common word, at least; note that you don't know it). What you described is a value drawn from the unit interval. I suggest you use "fraction" or "unit fraction", since fraction means part of a whole in one common meaning.

Aside: Percentages do not describe integers 0 to 100; one can have 250% and 1.1%. They describe a number represented visually by 100 times its value. Any normal number is a per-unit number; it is a number represented by 1 times the value (which is also 1 times 1 times its value, etc.). Hence "perunit" then isn't a usefully descriptive name.

share|improve this answer
You're right, you and @myqlarson both pointed out my error. I had meant that I'm looking for a word that relates to 0-1 like the word 'percent' relates to 0-100. –  rennat Sep 1 '11 at 6:05
unit interval appears to be correct: math.stackexchange.com/questions/2489/… –  user12549 Sep 1 '11 at 10:45
When 10% is expressed instead as 0.1, that is called a proportion. So I claim it's wrong to say there is no such word. –  Michael McGowan Feb 2 '12 at 16:47

Technically, percent doesn't represent 0-100. It represents 0.01 to 1. The writing convention x% makes it seem like it represents 0-100.

If your rational floating point number is always going to be between 0 and 1, then it depends on the precision you are expecting. Between 0.00 and 1.00? Then percent is the word you are after. 0.000 and 1.000? per mil is the word you are after. Etc.

share|improve this answer
You're right, a percent isn't bound to the range 0-100. I did a poor job with my wording. What I was meaning was "percent" is to the range 0-100 as ____ is to the range 0-1 –  rennat Sep 1 '11 at 6:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.