angular momentum


Definition of angular momentum

: a vector quantity that is a measure of the rotational momentum of a rotating body or system, that is equal in classical physics to the product of the angular velocity of the body or system and its moment of inertia with respect to the rotation axis, and that is directed along the rotation axis

Examples of angular momentum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But things like angular momentum and the heat of friction fight against the pull of gravity. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "The Universe is producing more massive stars than we thought," 4 Jan. 2018 All of its properties are determined by just three numbers: its total mass, angular momentum and electric charge. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Black Holes May Have ‘Hair’ That We Can See," 3 Jan. 2019 It is designed to illustrate the principle of conservation of angular momentum and includes handy tips on how to optimize your chances of successfully performing the trick. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Physics holds the key to performing the flipping water bottle trick," 8 Oct. 2018 The color represents vorticity, a quantity related to angular momentum. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 As for why dark matter and visible matter end up so tightly correlated in galaxies, based on the simulations, Navarro and colleagues attribute it to angular momentum acting together with gravity during galaxy formation. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, "The Universe Is Not a Simulation, but We Can Now Simulate It," 16 June 2018 As a boat rolls, the angular momentum of the flywheel creates a reaction force that transmits through the mounts to the hull of the boat. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Skip the Seasickness: How Boats Are Getting More Tech-Savvy," 28 June 2018 Since the two rotors are spinning in opposite directions, the total angular momentum is zero and there is no need for torque from an extra tail rotor. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "The Physics of NASA's New Mars Helicopter," 16 May 2018 His group found that most skaters had the necessary angular momentum leaving the ice, but sometimes had trouble getting enough rotational speed to complete the jump. Evelyn Lamb, Smithsonian, "How Physics Keeps Figure Skaters Gracefully Aloft," 7 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'angular momentum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of angular momentum

1817, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about angular momentum

Statistics for angular momentum

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for angular momentum

The first known use of angular momentum was in 1817

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on angular momentum Encyclopedia article about angular momentum

Comments on angular momentum

What made you want to look up angular momentum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having no equal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!