# ratio

In mathematics, a ratio is a relationship between two numbers indicating how many times the first number contains the second. For example, if a bowl of fruit contains eight oranges and six lemons, then the ratio of oranges to lemons is eight to six (that is, 8:6, which is equivalent to the ratio 4:3). Thus, a ratio can be a fraction as opposed to a whole number. Also, in this example the ratio of lemons to oranges is 6:8 (or 3:4), and the ratio of oranges to the total amount of fruit is 8:14 (or 4:7).
The numbers compared in a ratio can be any quantities of a comparable kind, such as objects, persons, lengths, or spoonfuls. A ratio is written "a to b" or a:b, or sometimes expressed arithmetically as a quotient of the two. When the two quantities have the same units, as is often the case, their ratio is a dimensionless number. A rate is a quotient of variables having different units. But in many applications, the word ratio is often used instead for this more general notion as well.

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