1. 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.
  3. dissension or conflict between persons, nations, etc., because of differing ideas, wishes, etc.


  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
  3. disagreement or conflict; discord
  4. phonetics the hissing element of a speech sound, such as a fricative
  5. perfumed alcohol used on the hair to stimulate the scalp

1560s, “a chafing, rubbing,” from Middle French friction (16c.) and directly from Latin frictionem (nominative frictio) “a rubbing, rubbing down,” noun of action from past participle stem of fricare “to rub,” of uncertain origin. Sense of “resistance to motion” is from 1722; figurative sense of “disagreement, clash” first recorded 1761. Related: Frictional.


  1. The rubbing of one object or surface against another.
  2. A physical force that resists the relative motion or tendency to such motion of two bodies in contact.

  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 resistance of an object to the medium through which or on which it is traveling, such as air, water, or a solid floor.

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