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

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 Ethics reform, which Larson said was a cause for friction with Abbott, received little attention this session. Allie Morris,, "Gov. Abbott endorses San Antonio lawmaker he spent $100k trying to oust," 27 Aug. 2019 South Korea and the Philippines have not, despite past frictions with China. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, "Is Huawei a Security Threat? Vietnam Isn’t Taking Any Chances," 18 July 2019 The vote sets up a new point of friction with China on the eve of President Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, "Senate Takes Aim at Chinese Banks Doing Business With North Korea," 27 June 2019 Growing trade frictions are the most important development that may be driving the world, and the United States with it, into economic recession. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Econometer: Should the U.S. cut ties with China?," 30 Aug. 2019 Those trade frictions had indeed escalated when Donald Trump earlier announced 10% tariffs on an additional $300bn-worth of Chinese goods in the two countries’ trade war. The Economist, "Business this week," 10 Aug. 2019 Nevertheless, the trade frictions have been weighing on global financial markets. Josh Boak, Twin Cities, "July US jobs report shows solid gains amid trade frictions," 2 Aug. 2019 Avoid friction, picking, or pulling on your eyelashes. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Will Eyelash Extensions Ruin Your Natural Lashes? We Investigate," 31 July 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

5 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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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