Fractal definition

frăktəl
Frequency:
From the Latin fractus, translating as broken or fractured. An irregular or fragmented geometric shape that can be repeatedly subdivided into parts, each of which is a smaller copy of the whole. In words, a complex irregular object that is self-similar. Examples of fractal objects include mountain ranges, clouds, and lightening bolts. See also fractal transform.
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(mathematics) A mathematical set that has a non-integer and constant Hausdorff dimension; a geometric figure that is self-similar at all scales.
noun
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(geom.) An extremely irregular line or surface formed by the infinite repetition of a geometric pattern that becomes smaller and smaller with each repetition.
noun
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A complex geometric pattern exhibiting self-similarity in that small details of its structure viewed at any scale repeat elements of the overall pattern.
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(figuratively) An object, system, or idea that exhibits a fractal-like property.
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See also fractal.
hyponyms
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(mathematics) Having the form of a fractal.
adjective
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An object whose parts, at infinitely many levels of magnification, appear geometrically similar to the whole. Fractals are used in the design of compact antennas and for computer modeling of natural-looking structures like clouds and trees.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
fractal
Plural:
fractals

Origin of fractal

  • French from Latin frāctus past participle of frangere to break fraction

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From French fractal, from Latin fractus (“broken”), perfect passive participle of frangō (“break, fragment”).

    From Wiktionary