Definition of friable in English:



  • Easily crumbled.

    ‘the soil was friable between her fingers’
    • ‘There was asbestos in the ceilings of the basement, which now may be friable.’
    • ‘The source of the conglomerate is believed to have been southerly, where an unweathered friable rhyolite was water-transported with minor abrasion.’
    • ‘And it also gave me a chance to enthuse (not that I take much prompting) about how lucky I am to have such friable soil.’
    • ‘Molasse is a dialect word used by French-speaking farmers in western Switzerland to describe soft, friable sandstones.’
    • ‘For example, the use of safety equipment is mandated for employees working in buildings where friable asbestos is present prior to demolition or major remodeling.’
    • ‘Originally vegetation held the friable, highly-weathered schist in place, but brush clearance and cut-and-fill construction have destabilised the densely inhabited hillsides.’
    • ‘The best form of winter protection is to mound up each plant at its base with loose, friable soil that drains well.’
    • ‘An unimaginable wealth of fertile topsoil in most parts of the country, this is shallow by Iowa standards, where in some areas the fine, friable soil goes down 20 feet.’
    • ‘Porous, relatively soft, fine-textured and somewhat friable, chalk normally is white and consists almost wholly of calcium carbonate as the common mineral calcite.’
    • ‘What's left is recognisable as human bones, though they're very friable.’
    • ‘Ants love sandy soil so if you add plenty of humus, such as compost, you'll end up with dark, moist, friable soil and no ants.’
    • ‘When freshly collected, laumontite is colorless and quite hard; however, once dry, it crumbles and becomes friable and white.’
    • ‘Acrylic paints become soft and vulnerable to damage and dirt retention at high temperatures and humidities or brittle and friable at low temperatures.’
    • ‘The rock is volcanic and rather friable.’
    • ‘Regrettably, Messenia's alkaline soils cause most imported pottery to lose its surface slip over time, while the vessels manufactured in the friable local clays do not hold their original slips well to begin with.’
    • ‘It is especially useful for objects with high water content, such as grapes, and friable objects that may otherwise disintegrate when grasped with forceps.’
    • ‘Despite these basic differences, most herbs require the same growing conditions: a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day, excellent soil drainage, and moderately rich, friable soil.’
    • ‘Menaker said the turbine is ‘covered with friable asbestos and is right now a hazardous work site.’’
    • ‘Its volcanic composition makes the rock loose and friable, and likely to pull away in your hand at the slightest provocation.’
    • ‘This material, which is colored whitish or grey to yellow-orange, is so light and friable that specimens crumble under finger pressure.’
    crumbly, easily crumbled, powdery, dusty, chalky, soft
    dry, crisp, brittle
    pulverulent, levigated, brashy
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: from French, or from Latin friabilis, from friare to crumble.