The word "friar" comes from the Latin word "frater", meaning "brother". When St. Francis founded a religious community, he intended its members to live as brothers without distinction of rank, title, or education.
An example of friars are the Capuchins, who are are a religious community of both lay brothers and ordained priests. Yet, in the spirit of St. Francis, friars - lay and ordained - see themselves as brothers, as equals, with no one greater or less than the next, respectful to one another and to all of creation. This humility is a characteristic still evidenced in the lives and even the name of Capuchins, who go by the title OFM Cap., meaning Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin.
People sometimes comment, "How can you tell who's a priest and who's a brother?" With Capuchin Franciscan friars, you can't, and it is a testimony to their style of life that emphasizes the common brotherhood that St. Francis created.