(of a speech sound) characterized by audible friction produced by forcing the breath through a constricted or partially obstructed passage in the vocal tract; spirantal; spirant.


Also called spirant. a fricative consonant, as (th), (v), or (h).

Origin of fricative

First recorded in 1855–60; fricat(ion) + -ive
Related formsnon·fric·a·tive, adjective, nounun·fric·a·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fricative

Historical Examples of fricative

British Dictionary definitions for fricative



a continuant consonant produced by partial occlusion of the airstream, such as (f) or (z)


relating to or denoting a fricative

Word Origin for fricative

C19: from New Latin fricātivus, from Latin fricāre to rub
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 fricative

1860 (adj.), 1863 (n.), from Modern Latin fricativus, from Latin fricatus, past participle of fricare "to rub" (see friction).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper