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.

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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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 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. Jan 5, 2015 at 15:51

2 Answers 2


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.


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    Ratio might also be appropriate.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jan 5, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 at 17:23
  • Nice answer but two words ... Jan 6, 2015 at 1:47
  • Or the word “proportion,” meaning “a number considered in comparative relation to a whole.” Jan 26, 2021 at 18:21

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).

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    So, to summarize, what would you recommend to name a variable? May 28, 2017 at 12:44
  • you could simply call it a "probability of 0.5", a number between 0 and 1 can be used as a probability, the % is only to imply a fraction of 100, as in "probability of 50%", the ratio of 50/100 is exacly 0.5
    – N. Joppi
    May 21, 2022 at 20:02
  • OP here: FWIW I don't remember exactly but my question was probably about the extent to which something (e.g. an animation) has been completed, like animation.proportionCompleted. The issue with progress and with percent is that "progress" has no unit specification at all, and "percent" seems to be between 0 and 100. I think that's why I was looking for something succinct here
    – ephemer
    Feb 7 at 14:17

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