fric·​tion | \ ˈfrik-shən \

Definition of friction

1a : the rubbing of one body against another the friction of sandpaper on wood
b : the force that resists relative motion between two bodies in contact oil in a car engine reduces friction
2 : the clashing between two persons or parties of opposed views : disagreement friction between neighbors friction between state and federal authorities
3 : sound produced by the movement of air through a narrow constriction in the mouth or glottis

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Other Words from friction

frictionless \ ˈfrik-​shən-​ləs \ adjective
frictionlessly adverb

Examples of friction in a Sentence

the friction of sandpaper on wood Oil in a car engine reduces friction. It was difficult to reach an agreement because of the friction between the two sides.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But there has been significant friction with the scientific community over the issue. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What a lifetime of playing football can do to the human brain," 4 Feb. 2019 Yes, watching the friction between a mother and daughter for the preservation of their own packs is captivating television. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "BBC Earth's "Dynasties" Pulls at Heartstrings With the Painted Wolves’ Fight for Survival," 12 Dec. 2018 Undisguised internal friction has been a frequent feature of Merkel's past governments. Fox News, "Germany's Merkel downplays arguments in new government," 11 Apr. 2018 As previously reported, Crawford exhibited bad behavior on set which, combined with friction with co-star Damon Wayans, led to the network’s decision to axe him and keep the show going. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "'Lethal Weapon' star Clayne Crawford comments on firing, claims he was blackmailed with on-set tapes," 29 Aug. 2018 But his hot temper on the field led to friction with the coaching staff, to the point that Peters was suspended by head coach Andy Reid for a game last season. Lindsay H. Jones, USA TODAY, "Chiefs training camp questions: Can Patrick Mahomes take Kansas City to next level?," 2 July 2018 Wilson, a Morehouse College graduate, had friction with some board leaders over the college’s direction. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "Former Morehouse president takes on new role at Harvard," 28 Mar. 2018 Deploying the practice can be particularly challenging for managers who have spent years investing and growing their units, and can cause friction over where those funds are diverted. Tatyana Shumsky, WSJ, "Zero-Based Budgeting Stars in Walgreens’ Cost-Cutting Push," 21 Dec. 2018 Compared to textured cotton towels, the fibers are much smaller and finer, actively wicking water away without causing friction. Sarah Wu, Glamour, "This $30 Aquis Towel Completely Saved My Hair Color," 10 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'friction.' 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 friction

1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for friction

earlier, therapeutic rubbing of the limbs, from Middle French, from Latin friction-, frictio, from fricare to rub; akin to Latin friare to crumble, and perhaps to Sanskrit bhrīṇanti they injure

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Statistics for friction

Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for friction

The first known use of friction was in 1704

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More Definitions for friction



English Language Learners Definition of friction

: the act of rubbing one thing against another
: the force that causes a moving object to slow down when it is touching another object
: disagreement or tension between people or groups of people


fric·​tion | \ ˈfrik-shən \

Kids Definition of friction

1 : the rubbing of one thing against another
2 : resistance to motion between bodies in contact Oiling the parts of the machine reduces friction.
3 : disagreement among persons or groups

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