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From Middle French friction and directly from Latin frictionem, nom. frictio (a rubbing, rubbing down).


  • IPA(key): /ˈfɹɪkʃən̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪkʃən


friction (usually uncountable, plural frictions)

  1. The rubbing of one object or surface against another.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
  2. (physics) A force that resists the relative motion or tendency to such motion of two bodies in contact.
    • 1839, Denison Olmsted, A Compendium of Astronomy, page 95:
      Secondly, When a body is once in motion it will continue to move forever, unless something stops it. When a ball is struck on the surface of the earth, the friction of the earth and the resistance of the air soon stop its motion.
  3. (medicine, obsolete, countable) Massage of the body to restore circulation.
    • 1792, James Curry, Observations on Apparent Death from Drowning, Suffocation:
      The frictions should at first be very gentle, and performed with a view to restore heat, and not to force the blood towards the heart, which in drowned persons is already too much distended with it.
    • 1874 January 7, M. Panas, “Treatment of Syphilis by Mercurial Friction”, in The London Medical Record, volume 1, page 5:
      The frictions are made at bedtime, on a limited portion of the body, and on one side only—the calf of the leg by preference, or the thigh, groin, or axilla. It is enough to continue rubbing for from three to five minutes at most.
  4. (figuratively) Conflict, as between persons having dissimilar ideas or interests; clash.
    • 2017 January 14, “Thailand's new king rejects the army's proposed constitution”, in The Economist[1]:
      Thais have been watching for signs of friction between the armed forces and the monarchy—the country's two biggest sources of political power—since the death in October of Bhumibol Adulyadej, King Vajiralongkorn's long-reigning father.
    • 2020 December 2, Andy Byford talks to Paul Clifton, “I enjoy really big challenges...”, in Rail, page 52:
      Once finances are stabilised, getting Crossrail finished is Byford's most obvious task. Late and over budget, it is causing unwanted headlines and friction between the London Mayor and the Department for Transport that both sides would rather live without.
  5. (China, historical) (Second Sino-Japanese War) Conflict, as between the Communists and non-Hanjian Kuomintang forces.

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]



Learned borrowing from Latin frictiō.



friction f (plural frictions)

  1. friction: the rubbing, the conflict or the physics force


  • Turkish: friksiyon

Further reading[edit]



friction (uncountable)

  1. friction