Definition of friable
- friable soil
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
sand dollars are friable, so handle them carefully
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Friable entered into English in the mid-1500s, and was borrowed either from Middle French or directly from Latin friabilis. This Latin adjective comes from the verb "friare," which means "to crumble." "Friare" in turn is related to the verb "fricare" ("to rub"), the source of the English noun "friction." "Friable" is used to describe something that can be easily reduced to a powdered form. In contemporary usage, it is often found in the discussion of asbestos. Health concerns about asbestos primarily center around friable asbestos - that is, asbestos that is easily pulverized into tiny fibers which may remain suspended in the air and become a potential health risk to those who inhale them.
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