Share this entry

friction Line breaks: fric|tion
Pronunciation: /ˈfrɪkʃ(ə)n/

Definition of friction in English:


[mass noun]
1The resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another: a lubrication system which reduces friction
More example sentences
  • Less friction also reduces the stress imposed on the material.
  • Light rail uses up to 80 per cent less energy than buses as it encounters less surface friction.
  • These substances reduce friction between the moving parts of equipment.
1.1The action of one surface or object rubbing against another: the friction of braking
More example sentences
  • Divergence may result from friction with the Earth's surface.
  • Shooting hard can cause the cue tip leather to loose friction with the cue ball, causing it to jump rather than spin.
  • It didn't heat up from friction with the skin, and it protected against hard blows and blasts.
1.2Conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions: a considerable amount of friction between father and son
More example sentences
  • One other troubling situation she confronted was friction between the cultural groups.
  • In reading this account, we come to realise that the fights and friction between different groups in the hospital setting are universal and ubiquitous.
  • The best content comes from creative friction between program makers and management.


Mid 16th century (denoting chafing or rubbing of the body or limbs, formerly much used in medical treatment): via French from Latin frictio(n-), from fricare 'to rub'.

  • fray from Late Middle English:

    The spelling fray represents two distinct words. The verb meaning ‘to unravel’ comes from Latin fricare ‘to rub’, found also in friction (mid 16th century). A person eager to fight might ‘plunge into the fray’. This comes from the same root as the old legal term affray, Old French afrayer ‘to disturb, startle’. Someone frazzled (early 19th century) with exhaustion might not be surprised to hear that the word is probably linked with fray meaning ‘to unravel’.

Words that rhyme with friction

addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction

Definition of friction in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
a stupid person