Ask Difference

Briar vs. Friar — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 18, 2024
A briar is a thorny plant or shrub, while a friar is a member of a religious order in the Catholic Church.
Briar vs. Friar — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Briar and Friar


Key Differences

A briar refers to a type of thorny plant or shrub, often found in wild or rural areas. These plants are characterized by their tough, woody stems and sharp thorns, making them difficult to navigate through or handle. A friar, on the other hand, is a member of a mendicant religious order in the Catholic Church, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, or Augustinians. Friars live a life dedicated to poverty, chastity, and obedience, focusing on preaching, teaching, and charitable work.
Briars, as plants, are part of the natural ecosystem and can provide habitat and food for wildlife. They are often seen as obstacles or nuisances due to their thorns. Friars, as religious individuals, contribute to society through their spiritual guidance, education, and social services. Their presence is usually associated with compassion, humility, and dedication to religious and communal duties.
While briars are known for their physical toughness and ability to thrive in various conditions, friars are known for their spiritual strength and commitment to living a life according to religious vows. Briars' physical presence can cause physical discomfort due to their thorns, whereas friars' presence aims to provide comfort and support through their religious and community work.

Comparison Chart


A thorny plant or shrub
A member of a mendicant religious order


Tough, woody, and thorny
Dedicated to religious life and community


Wild or rural areas
Often in communities, churches, or schools


Part of the natural ecosystem
Spiritual guidance, teaching, charitable work


Seen as obstacles due to thorns
Seen as compassionate and humble

Compare with Definitions


A tough, woody plant often found in wild areas.
Briars grew thickly along the forest edge.


A religious brother in orders like the Franciscans or Dominicans.
Friars often engage in community service and education.


A thorny plant or shrub.
The hiker got tangled in a briar.


A religious figure who takes vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
The friar's simple lifestyle was an inspiration to many.


Plants like brambles or wild roses with sharp thorns.
The briar's thorns scratched his hands.


A brother in a religious community living among the people.
The friar led the community in daily prayers and services.


Any of a number of prickly scrambling shrubs, especially a wild rose.


A member of a Catholic mendicant order.
The friar devoted his life to helping the poor.


A tobacco pipe made from woody nodules borne at ground level by a large woody plant of the heather family.


A friar is a brother and a member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites.


The tree heath, which bears the nodules from which briar pipes are made.


A member of a usually mendicant Roman Catholic order.


Any of several prickly plants, such as certain rosebushes or the greenbrier.


A member of a mendicant Christian order such as the Augustinians, Carmelites (white friars), Franciscans (grey friars) or the Dominicans (black friars).


A Mediterranean shrub or small tree (Erica arborea) in the heath family, whose woody roots are used to make tobacco pipes. Also called tree heath.


A white or pale patch on a printed page caused by poor inking.


A pipe made from the root of this plant or from a similar wood.


An American fish, the silverside.


Variant of brier1.


A brother or member of any religious order, but especially of one of the four mendicant orders, viz: (a) Minors, Gray Friars, or Franciscans. (b) Augustines. (c) Dominicans or Black Friars. (d) White Friars or Carmelites. See these names in the Vocabulary.


Any of many plants with thorny stems growing in dense clusters, such as many in the Rosa, Rubus, and Smilax genera.


A white or pale patch on a printed page.


(figurative) Anything sharp or unpleasant to the feelings.


An American fish; the silversides.


The white heath (Erica arborea), a thorny Mediterranean shrub.


A male member of a religious order that originally relied soley on alms


A pipe for smoking, made from the roots of that shrub.


A religious person involved in preaching and teaching.
The friar traveled from town to town spreading his message.


Same as Brier.


Eurasian rose with prickly stems and fragrant leaves and bright pink flowers followed by scarlet hips


A very prickly woody vine of the eastern United States growing in tangled masses having tough round stems with shiny leathery leaves and small greenish flowers followed by clusters of inedible shiny black berries


Evergreen treelike Mediterranean shrub having fragrant white flowers in large terminal panicles and hard woody roots used to make tobacco pipes


A pipe made from the root (briarroot) of the tree heath


A dense, thorny patch of vegetation.
He avoided the briar patch on his walk.


A type of plant that can be difficult to navigate.
Clearing the briar from the garden took hours.

Common Curiosities

What is the role of a friar in the community?

Friars provide spiritual guidance, teach, and engage in charitable work.

Can a briar be cultivated?

While typically wild, some species of briars can be cultivated for ornamental purposes.

What is a friar?

A friar is a member of a mendicant religious order in the Catholic Church.

Are friars the same as monks?

No, friars are mendicants who are more community-focused, while monks usually live in monastic settings.

Do briars have any specific uses?

Briars can provide habitat and food for wildlife and sometimes are used in traditional medicine.

What is a briar?

A briar is a type of thorny plant or shrub, often found in wild areas.

How do friars support themselves?

Friars rely on donations and the support of the community, adhering to their vow of poverty.

What are some common types of briars?

Common types include brambles, wild roses, and other thorny shrubs.

Do briars produce flowers?

Yes, many briars, like wild roses, produce flowers.

Can briars be removed easily?

No, briars can be difficult to remove due to their tough, woody stems and extensive root systems.

What vows do friars take?

Friars take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Are briars harmful?

Briars can be harmful due to their sharp thorns, which can cause scratches and injuries.

Do briars have any ecological benefits?

Yes, they provide habitat and protection for various wildlife species.

What is the main focus of a friar's work?

The main focus is on preaching, teaching, and serving the community.

Where do friars typically live?

Friars live among the community, often in friaries or mission houses.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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