[ frik-shuhn ]
See synonyms for: frictionfrictionless on

  1. Physics. surface resistance to relative motion, as of a body sliding or rolling.

  2. the rubbing of the surface of one body against that of another: Rubber on pavement has more friction than steel wheel on steel rail.

  1. dissension or conflict between people, nations, etc., because of differing ideas, wishes, etc.: Friction between family members can escalate during a heat wave, as extreme weather can cause tempers to fray.

Origin of friction

First recorded in 1575–85; from Latin frictiōn-, stem of frictiō “a rubbing,” from frict(us) “rubbed” (past participle of fricāre “to rub”) + -iō -ion

Other words for friction

Other words from friction

  • fric·tion·less, adjective
  • fric·tion·less·ly, adverb
  • in·ter·fric·tion, noun
  • non·fric·tion, noun
  • self-fric·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for friction


/ (ˈfrɪkʃən) /

  1. a resistance encountered when one body moves relative to another body with which it is in contact

  2. the act, effect, or an instance of rubbing one object against another

  1. disagreement or conflict; discord

  2. phonetics the hissing element of a speech sound, such as a fricative

  3. perfumed alcohol used on the hair to stimulate the scalp

Origin of friction

C16: from French, from Latin frictiō a rubbing, from fricāre to rub, rub down; related to Latin friāre to crumble

Derived forms of friction

  • frictional, adjective
  • frictionless, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for friction


[ frĭkshən ]

  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for friction


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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.