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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for friability
Historical Examples
  • friability in the seed-bed is important when the soils are heavy.

  • Its friability, however, renders it more suitable for use as a home pipe than for a work-a-day pipe.

    Tobacco Leaves W. A. Brennan
  • This friability makes the land easier to work, and it is also more easily penetrated by the roots of plants.

  • In rare cases the presence of sulphates may perhaps cause some friability.

  • She caused the separateness and individuality of all the Marsh inmates, the friability of the household.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • Their whitish colour, their lightness, and their friability left no room for doubt on the point.

    Primitive Man Louis Figuier
  • But he must allow that the friability of the land must have been originally much greater than now, for hundreds of years.

    The Chautauquan, Vol. III, March 1883 The Chautauquan Literary and Scientific Circle
British Dictionary definitions for friability


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 friability



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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friability 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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