adjective fri·a·ble \ ˈfrī-ə-bəl \

Definition of friable

:easily crumbled or pulverized
  • friable soil


play \ˌfrī-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

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Examples of friable in a Sentence

  1. sand dollars are friable, so handle them carefully

Recent Examples of friable from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of friable

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

friable Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of friable

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

FRIABLE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of friable for English Language Learners

  • : easily broken into smaller pieces

Medical Dictionary


adjective fri·a·ble \ ˈfrī-ə-bəl \

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


play \ˌfrī-ə-ˈbil-ət-ē\ noun plural -ties

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readily predictable

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