a. The act or process of breaking.
b. The condition of having been broken or ruptured: "a sudden and irreparable fracture of the established order" (W. Bruce Lincoln).
2. A break, rupture, or crack, especially in bone or cartilage.
a. The characteristic manner in which a mineral breaks.
b. The characteristic appearance of the surface of a broken mineral.
4. Geology A crack or fault in a rock.
v. frac·tured, frac·tur·ing, frac·tures
a. To cause to break: The impact of the fall fractured the bone. See Synonyms at break.
b. To undergo a break in (a bone): He fractured his ankle in the fall.
2. To disrupt or destroy as if by breaking: fractured the delicate balance of power.
3. To abuse or misuse flagrantly, as by violating rules: ignorant writers who fracture the language.
4. Slang To cause to laugh heartily: "Jack Benny fractured audiences ... for more than 50 years" (Newsweek).
To undergo a fracture.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin frāctūra, from frāctus, past participle of frangere, to break; see bhreg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)fracture
left to right: transverse, oblique, and greenstick fractures
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.