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[frik-shuh n] /ˈfrɪk ʃən/
surface resistance to relative motion, as of a body sliding or rolling.
the rubbing of the surface of one body against that of another.
dissension or conflict between persons, nations, etc., because of differing ideas, wishes, etc.
1575-85; < Latin frictiōn- (stem of frictiō) a rubbing, equivalent to frict(us) (past participle of fricāre) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
frictionless, adjective
frictionlessly, adverb
interfriction, noun
nonfriction, noun
self-friction, noun
3. discord, dissidence, clash, antagonism, contention, wrangling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for friction
  • The wax lessens the friction, or rubbing, between ski and snow.
  • Dry-stacked stone walls are held together by friction and gravity rather than mortar.
  • Their functions probably are to modify pressure, to diminish friction, and occasionally to alter the direction of a muscle pull.
  • To reduce friction is the chief use of friendship, and in politics the loss by friction is outrageous.
  • Then the high priest made the new fire by the friction of two pieces of wood, and placed it on the altar under the green arbour.
  • Even if you get the job, there may be a lot of friction or pain along the way.
  • In an ideal case, these interests coincide, and the promotion goes through without the slightest friction.
  • The friction comes in the form of these two noble goals, which one is more important is largely a value question.
  • It puts a slippy silicone layer right at that spot so that the friction is reduced.
  • Truly soft shells run the risk of causing friction, which is bad for the neck.
British Dictionary definitions for friction


a resistance encountered when one body moves relative to another body with which it is in contact
the act, effect, or an instance of rubbing one object against another
disagreement or conflict; discord
(phonetics) the hissing element of a speech sound, such as a fricative
perfumed alcohol used on the hair to stimulate the scalp
Derived Forms
frictional, adjective
frictionless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Latin frictiō a rubbing, from fricāre to rub, rub down; related to Latin friāre to crumble
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 friction

1560s, "a chafing, rubbing," from Middle French friction (16c.) and directly from Latin frictionem (nominative frictio) "a rubbing, rubbing down," noun of action from past participle stem of fricare "to rub," of uncertain origin. Sense of "resistance to motion" is from 1722; figurative sense of "disagreement, clash" first recorded 1761. Related: Frictional.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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friction in Medicine

friction fric·tion (frĭk'shən)

  1. The rubbing of one object or surface against another.

  2. A physical force that resists the relative motion or tendency to such motion of two bodies in contact.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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friction in Science
A force on objects or substances in contact with each other that resists motion of the objects or substances relative to each other. ◇ Static friction arises between two objects that are not in motion with respect to each other, as for example between a cement block and a wooden floor. It increases to counterbalance forces that would move the objects, up to a certain maximum level of force, at which point the objects will begin moving. It is measured as the maximum force the bodies will sustain before motion occurs. ◇ Kinetic friction arises between bodies that are in motion with respect to each other, as for example the force that works against sliding a cement block along a wooden floor. Between two hard surfaces, the kinetic friction is usually somewhat lower than the static friction, meaning that more force is required to set the objects in motion than to keep them in motion. See also drag.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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friction in Culture

friction definition

The resistance of an object to the medium through which or on which it is traveling, such as air, water, or a solid floor.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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