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 formsfri·a·bil·i·ty, fri·a·ble·ness, nounun·fri·a·ble, adjectiveun·fri·a·ble·ness, noun
Can be confusedfriable fryable

Synonyms for friable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for friability

Historical Examples of friability

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for friability



easily broken up; crumbly
Derived Formsfriability or friableness, noun

Word Origin for friable

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

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

friability in Medicine




Readily crumbled; brittle.
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.