Is there a word for 1/3?

So I know that in Mandarin, 1/2 is 二分之一 or 一半. Is there a similar word to 一半 for 1/3? I mean, instead of 三分之一, something like 一——？

• there is 刻 for quarter hour Commented May 11, 2017 at 20:20

Because the decimal system has been used for a long time in China, there are fewer fractional words. 半 is the only single word, which was used as follows in ancient China.

1/2 one-half 半、中半
1/3 one-third 少半、小半
2/3 two-thirds 太半、大半
1/4 one-fourth, a quarter 弱半
3/4 three-fourths, three quarters 強半

In Chinese fractional system, the denominator is addressed first, and then the numerator.

Source: 中文數字

The only way to avoid saying 三分一 is using smaller measuring unit. For example: 二十分鐘 instead of 三分一小時; 四分 instead of 三分一尺.

Similarly, 一半 can only be shortened to 半, as in 半小時 (三十分鐘), or 半尺 (六分)

Side note:

1/4 hour (a quarter of an hour) can be translated to 一刻鐘 or 一刻 instead of 四分一小時 in Chinese.

1/4 hour (a quarter of an hour) can be transliterated to 一個骨 in Cantonese; 3/4 hour (three quarters of an hour) = 三個骨

Some patterns:

``````      English               Strictly in Mandarin(Cantonese in written)
1/3   one third               三(3)分之一(1)
1/4   one fourth(quarter)     四(4)分之一(1)
2/5   two fifths              五(5)分之二(2)
``````

See the pattern? Even in written 三分之一, It's common to write "3分之1". Since in Chinese, the number itself doesn't have the plural form, you can ignore the annoying"-s" or"-es".

In accounting, since 一，二，三...etc. The number itself are easily to be modified, so we might use “壹，贰，叁，肆...”, but that's another sotry.

Advanced patterns when it comes to 1(1/3) cases:

``````        English                     Strictly in Mandarin(Cantonese in written)
1+2/3   one and two thirds              一(1)又三(3)分之2(1)
3+1/4   three and one fourth(quarter)   三(3)又四(4)分之一(1)
4+2/5   four and two fifths             四(4)又五(5)分之二(2)
``````

Hope it helps.

• Shouldn't 一比三 and 一除三 actually mean a ratio of 1:3, in other words 1/4? Using 一比三 to mean 1/3 (1:2) seems extremely weird to me... Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 11:34