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I'm looking for a word to replace "percentage" for numbers between 0 and 1.

To explain: what I'm actually dealing with are decimals (like 0.12), semantically however they serve the purpose of percentages (the equivalent here being 12%, obviously).

So my number between 0 and 1 is not a percentage but a _______. Any ideas?

This question is similar, but has a different focus; it allows for multiple words, whereas mine needs a single word.

closed as off-topic by Frank, Edwin Ashworth, tchrist, Brian Hooper, Drew Jan 8 '15 at 3:29

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    proportion is one commonly used term for this (as one of the answers to the linked question points out.). If they represent probabilities, use that. – Alan Munn Jan 5 '15 at 15:24
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    @EFrog: If you name it percent, don't come complaining if I jam a value of 27.5 in your variable and break your code. In good programming, you give your variables a meaningful name. – oerkelens Jan 5 '15 at 15:31
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    @EFrog: if, as the OP states, a value of 0.12 represents 12%, then percent is a terrible name for your variable. If the value 12 would represent 12%, it would be very meaningful. And naming variables anything you feel like just because you can is a terrible idea and the most common reason why programmers want to kill their predecessors. – oerkelens Jan 5 '15 at 15:38
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    @EFrog So if on a website that you have to fill out, titled, for example, “Density (in percent)”, you would write “0.12” and expect that to mean a density of 12%? That may make sense to a mathematician, but it makes no sense to me. If a variable named percent or percentage is 0.12, the natural assumption is that it represents 0.12%, or 0.0012. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 5 '15 at 15:51
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Numbers between 0 and 1 are fractions, and fractions expressed as a decimal are decimal fractions.

decimal fraction

a fraction (as .25 = 25100 or .025 = 251000) or mixed number (as 3.025 = 3251000) in which the denominator is a power of 10 usually expressed by use of the decimal point.

Merriam-Webster

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    Ratio might also be appropriate. – Kit Z. Fox Jan 5 '15 at 15:14
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    @KitFox: with ratio my first question is of what to what? It seems in this case, the answer is always something to one. It is a ratio, but not very meaningful... – oerkelens Jan 5 '15 at 15:33
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    As fractions may be proper (numerator less than denominator) or improper, it may be helpful to qualify the numbers between 0 and 1 as proper fractions. The improper fraction 7/3 is by definition a fraction; however, it is not between 0 and 1. – rajah9 Jan 5 '15 at 17:23
  • Nice answer but two words ... – Araucaria Jan 6 '15 at 1:47
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From a pure linguistics perspective, the answer is "percent".

In mathematics, a percentage is a number or ratio expressed as a fraction of 100. [wikipedia]

0.12 and 12% are as equivalent, as 0.1234 and 12.34% are. If the numbers you are expressing are proportional then percent is as valid as anything else.


Off-topic answer:

However, you question wasn't about linguistics, it was about naming variables in which case percent/ration/unit are all terrible variable names. When naming variables, succinctness is of far less importance than readability. Variable names can be minimised or optimised by the complier, as a programmer your role is writing human readable code first, and machine readable code second.

As a programmer, the variable name should have some better context than a unitless proportion, so re-evaluate what you are storing, determine what the actual value means, and try again (probably on Programmers.SE).

  • So, to summarize, what would you recommend to name a variable? – Ivan Balashov May 28 '17 at 12:44

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