Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun mathematics (Can we verify(+) this sense?) A geometric figure that repeats itself under several levels of magnification, and that shows self-similarity on all scales.
  • noun mathematics (Can we verify(+) this sense?) A geometric figure that appears irregular at all scales of length, e.g. a fern.
  • adjective mathematics Having the form of a fractal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (mathematics) a geometric pattern that is repeated at every scale and so cannot be represented by classical geometry

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Latin frāctus, past participle of frangere, to break; see fraction.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

Examples

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  • "We could more easily re-invent public schools by volunteering our time to them directly, instead of sending our kids to private schools while we sign petitions for government to re-prioritize. And even in health care, we’d end up cutting everyone’s costs by commuting less, smoking less, landscaping less, and, yes, hating less. For each of these actions triggers different responses, undermines industries, requires new legal structures, and so on. It’s tiny, but it’s almost fractal in its impact."

    - Douglas Rushkoff, An End to Movements, arthurmag.com, 15 Aug 2009.

    September 27, 2009

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    December 25, 2009

  • "From above it's fractal." The Shack by WM Paul.

    September 29, 2010