fric·​tion | \ ˈfrik-shən How to pronounce friction (audio) \

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 How to pronounce frictionless (audio) \ 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

However, the reception was hostile to a presentation by Transforming Age at a Keiro board meeting earlier this year, according to Turner, who said the friction was rooted in giving a say to an organization outside of the Japanese American community. Glenn Nelson, The Seattle Times, "Battle for ‘soul’ of Seattle’s Japanese American community as Keiro Northwest nursing home closes," 16 Sep. 2019 The friction among them ultimately resulted in a family brawl with Jimeno getting into a fist fight with Everett's brother during dinner at her parent's house. Jonathan Landrum Jr.,, "Marital bliss or nah: ’90 Day Fiance’ becomes hit for TLC," 14 Sep. 2019 For example, there was the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, which involved using the friction from a shot glass to purposefully swell your lips and sent a few people to the hospital back in 2015. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Kids, Please Stop Plumping Your Lips With Glue and Posting the Photos on TikTok," 13 Sep. 2019 The friction surrounding Pantaleo's firing comes amid a rash of incidents involving members of the public attacking police officers. CBS News, "NYPD arrests plunge since officer fired for chokehold death of Eric Garner," 5 Sep. 2019 There have been studies, like one the New Yorker highlighted, suggesting that some friction is better than none when teams want to generate high-quality ideas. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "The man who gave us brainstorming meetings did his best thinking alone," 6 Aug. 2019 As for concerns about conservative presidents packing the court with her alleged ideological enemies, Ginsburg minimizes the political friction on the bench. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg wishes to inform you she’s still “very much alive”," 24 July 2019 That’s inherently unstable, and once a glacier starts retreating downslope, the invading water provides an increasing floating force that reduces the sliding friction that slows the seaward flow of ice. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Running the numbers on an insane scheme to save Antarctic ice," 20 July 2019 Boeing shares were hurt Tuesday following a report over the weekend that its workhorse 737 Max could remain grounded through the lucrative fall and holiday seasons because of friction with federal regulators. Taylor Telford,, "Stocks slump broadly as expanded US-China tariffs kick in," 3 Sep. 2019

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

19 Oct 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 How to pronounce friction (audio) \

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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Comments on friction

What made you want to look up friction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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