fri·​a·​ble | \ ˈfrī-ə-bəl How to pronounce friable (audio) \

Definition of friable

: easily crumbled or pulverized friable soil

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Other Words from friable

friability \ ˌfrī-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce friable (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for friable


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fragile, frangible, brittle, crisp, friable mean breaking easily. fragile implies extreme delicacy of material or construction and need for careful handling. a fragile antique chair frangible implies susceptibility to being broken without implying weakness or delicacy. frangible stone used for paving brittle implies hardness together with lack of elasticity or flexibility or toughness. brittle bones crisp implies a firmness and brittleness desirable especially in some foods. crisp lettuce friable applies to substances that are easily crumbled or pulverized. friable soil

When Should You Use friable?

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.

Examples of friable in a Sentence

sand dollars are friable, so handle them carefully
Recent Examples on the Web They’re turned annually, but otherwise left to their own devices in a tri-year cycle that converts his kitchen scraps, weeds and leaves into moist friable soil rich in micronutrients. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Composting 101: What it takes to produce ‘garden gold’," 8 July 2020 Mule deer that easily vault over barbed-wire fences don’t test the creek’s friable banks. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "Willow Creek: An Obscure Stream Shapes Life, Death, and Landscape," 16 Apr. 2020 At the Doug Fir, however, the Robinsons will perform as a duo, surely boring into their hits — and stress-testing the ecology of a friable partnership. 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, Doug Fir Lounge. oregonlive, "Live music in Portland: March blooms with 23 must-see concerts," 27 Feb. 2020 My hair is thin and friable, the color of damp straw, my neck ropy and straining. Summer Block, Longreads, "Better Late," 23 Aug. 2019 Feed your soil Kranz is a strong proponent of organic gardening and believes building a friable (i.e. crumbly), nutrient-rich soil is critical to your garden’s success. Jeanette Marantos, The Seattle Times, "4 tips for starting (or improving) an edible garden," 12 Apr. 2019 Fertilize Your Cucumber Plants Cucumbers thrive in light, friable soil. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Growing Crisp Cucumbers," 12 July 2018 Materials that contain asbestos, such as vinyl floor tiles, are non-friable. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Asbestos warning posted, as floor tiles are replaced in Aberdeen post office," 10 May 2018 In my brother's case, however, the tumor was infected with a secondary staph infection, causing it to become friable and throw off little blood clots to his extremities. Jenny Mollen, Marie Claire, "Actress and Author Jenny Mollen Opens Up About Her Family's Scary Health Crisis," 17 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'friable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of friable

1563, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for friable

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin friabilis, from friare to crumble — more at friction

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The first known use of friable was in 1563

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Cite this Entry

“Friable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for friable



English Language Learners Definition of friable

technical : easily broken into smaller pieces


fri·​a·​ble | \ ˈfrī-ə-bəl How to pronounce friable (audio) \

Medical Definition of friable

: easily crumbled or pulverized friable carcinomatous tissue also : marked by erosion and bleeding a friable cervix with bleeding on contact — Pippa Oakeshott et al.

Other Words from friable

friability \ ˌfrī-​ə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce friable (audio) \ noun, plural friabilities

More from Merriam-Webster on friable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for friable

Nglish: Translation of friable for Spanish Speakers

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