The prime minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme, has tendered his resignation after his government failed in its attempt to grant greater autonomy to the country's Dutch- and French-speaking regions. Belgium's linguistic quandary is an issue of enormous consequence (and one on which Language Log has been peculiarly silent), but I'll let more informed voices chime in on the collapse of the Leterme government. Instead, as is my wont, I'm going to sidestep the weighty geopolitical repercussions and focus on a small but interesting typo in the Associated Press article, "Belgian premier offers resignation amid deadlock":
The writer most likely meant fractious, but frictious is a lovely eggcornish error. At the moment, CNN International has changed the AP article to read "a fractious alliance," but just about everyone else has kept it as frictious. It's the sort of typo that can get easily overlooked because it makes a certain sense, like all good eggcorns. That alliance was certainly "refractory or unruly," as fractious is typically defined, but it was also full of friction between the Dutch- and French-speaking camps.
There are a couple thousand hits for frictious on Google, and even a couple dozen on Google Scholar, but as far as I can see only Urban Dictionary ventures a definition: "Of, pertaining to or characterized by friction." That's modern-day Belgium for you.
[Update, 7/15, 11 am: The latest version of the AP story replaces frictious with fractious, sadly. But it lives on in syndication, thanks to Google News, Yahoo News, Time, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Guardian, and dozens of other online outlets.]