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[frahy-uh-buh l] /ˈfraɪ ə bəl/
easily crumbled or reduced to powder; crumbly:
friable rock.
Origin of friable
1555-65; < Latin friābilis, equivalent to friā(re) to rub, crumble + -ābilis -able
Related forms
friability, friableness, noun
unfriable, adjective
unfriableness, noun
Can be confused
friable, fryable.
fragile, frangible. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for friable
  • Many of the miscellaneous materials in this section are non-friable.
  • The upper part of the subsoil is friable sandy clay loam mottled with red.
  • Machine grinding, sanding and dry-buffing are ways of causing non-friable materials to become friable.
British Dictionary definitions for friable


easily broken up; crumbly
Derived Forms
friability, friableness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin friābilis, from friāre to crumble; related to Latin fricāre to rub down
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for friable

1560s, from Middle French friable and directly from Latin friabilis "easily crumbled or broken," from friare "rub away, crumble into small pieces," related to fricare "to rub" (see friction). Related: Friability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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friable in Medicine

friable fri·a·ble (frī'ə-bəl)

  1. Readily crumbled; brittle.

  2. Relating to a dry, brittle growth of bacteria.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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