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

The friction has intensified since around 2012, as more airlines began offering à la carte services, like priority boarding, extra-legroom seats, meals, in-flight Wi-Fi, and baggage fees. Wired, "Why the Feds Want to Block a Flight-Booking Software Deal," 4 Sep. 2019 Another round in the Alaska bar wars is exposing friction between bars and breweries as consumer drinking habits change, and the future of a booming multimillion-dollar industry is at stake. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Bar wars: Proposal to limit activities in Alaska breweries and distilleries is the latest twist in a long regulatory evolution," 1 Sep. 2019 The friction of two against each other just makes each one more likely to break, says Dr. Levine. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "19 Condom Mistakes You Don't Want to Make," 29 Aug. 2019 There’s less friction in changing stores in internet shopping than there is walking across a mall or driving to a store across town. Tara Law, Time, "Interim Overstock CEO Talks to TIME About the Future After Scandal, And Patrick Byrne," 24 Aug. 2019 However, buttock skin commonly develops dryness, irritation, chafing, and breakouts because of sweating and friction. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "Sheet Masks for Your Butt Are Now a Thing and We're Not Sure How to Feel," 22 Aug. 2019 Will customers be able to pay for my product or service without friction? Jewel Burks Solomon, Essence, "Three Keys To Succeeding in Business From a Black Woman in Tech Who Soared," 12 Aug. 2019 That provides an estimate of the number, weight, size and shape—and therefore potential harmfulness—of pieces that atmospheric friction will not reduce to dust. The Economist, "No one has yet been killed by re-entering space junk," 10 Aug. 2019 Apply the degreaser, run the stain under warm or hot water, and scrub the stain between your hands, rubbing the fabric against itself so the friction loosens it. Jura Koncius,, "Stains are a summer staple. Here’s how to defeat them," 8 Aug. 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

7 Sep 2019

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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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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