cen·​trif·​u·​gal | \ sen-ˈtri-fyə-gəl How to pronounce centrifugal (audio) , -ˈtri-fi-, especially British ˌsen-tri-ˈfyü-gəl \

Definition of centrifugal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : proceeding or acting in a direction away from a center or axis centrifugal acceleration of a body
2 : using or acting by centrifugal force a centrifugal pump
3 : efferent centrifugal nerves of the heart
4 : tending away from centralization : separatist centrifugal tendencies in modern society



Definition of centrifugal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a centrifugal machine or a drum in such a machine

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Other Words from centrifugal


centrifugally \ sen-​ˈtri-​fyə-​gə-​lē How to pronounce centrifugal (audio) , -​ˈtri-​fi-​ , especially British  ˌsen-​tri-​ˈfyü-​gə-​ \ adverb

Centrifugal and Science

Centrifugal force is what keeps a string with a ball on the end taut when you whirl it around. A centrifuge is a machine that uses centrifugal force. At the end of a washing machine's cycle, it becomes a weak and simple centrifuge as it whirls the water out of your clothes. Centrifuges hundreds of thousands of times as powerful are essential to nuclear technology and drug manufacturing. Part of an astronaut's training occurs in a centrifuge that generates force equal to several times the force of gravity (about like a washing machine) to get them used to the forces they'll encounter in a real space mission.

Examples of centrifugal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Extracting juicers: Commonly known as centrifugal juicers, extracting juicers are generally cheaper than masticating juicers but are more effective at grinding down larger produce pieces. Kevin Luna, chicagotribune.com, "The best juicer for beginners," 9 Apr. 2021 Unlike citrus juicers, centrifugal models can juice different fruits and vegetables and are often more expensive. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, "The 8 best juicers of 2021, according to experts," 5 Apr. 2021 There are, of course, technological solutions, like creating artificial, centrifugal gravity by rotating a spacecraft at the proper speed (see, e.g., The Martian and 2001: A Space Odyssey). Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Space Can Take a Nasty Toll On An Astronaut's Heart, Study Finds," 2 Apr. 2021 Many centrifugal juicers offer different speeds, typically low and high. Ana Sanchez, chicagotribune.com, "The best juicer for carrots," 1 Apr. 2021 However, adopting a mindset that encompasses centrifugal and centripetal forces will help HR managers maintain balance on the fulcrum of inward and outward trends. Naira Velumyan, Forbes, "The Interplay Of Physics, Job Search And Cost Optimization," 18 Mar. 2021 While the swirling centrifugal forces of modernity have sucked so many others into a prison of quotidian constraints, Mbaya’s forest walks are a portal to a different, slower, and more meaningful world. Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "‘Anyone Can Walk in the Woods, But Who Truly Knows Them?’," 28 Nov. 2020 This lightweight and durable reel allows for longer casts on the water thanks to the Hamai Precision Cut gears and centrifugal braking system. Amanda Mcelfresh, NOLA.com, "Shop safely and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list with this handy guide," 26 Nov. 2020 The new transmission is also quieter, by virtue of a centrifugal pendulum absorber. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Nissan Frontier Is a Resto Rod," 15 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s what centrifugal means—to flee (fugere) the center. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How to Whirl a Squirrel off of a Bird Feeder," 11 Apr. 2020 Five years ago, his kits for Porsche 911s and BMW M3s, which employed a Vortec centrifugal supercharger, were the most popular. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "VF Engineering Lamborghini Huracán Is a Beast with Manners," 21 Feb. 2020 There will be a lot less exploratory behavior if the ant raft is spinning in response to centrifugal or shear forces. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The physics behind how fire ants band together into robust floating “rafts”," 8 Dec. 2019 Plenty of people remain almost crazy with anger, and the country’s political and cultural forces overall remain centrifugal, driving people to extremes. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "We’ve Grown Accustomed to Trump," 17 Oct. 2018

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

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First Known Use of centrifugal


1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1813, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for centrifugal


New Latin centrifugus, from centr- + Latin fugere to flee — more at fugitive

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Time Traveler for centrifugal

Time Traveler

The first known use of centrifugal was in 1709

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Statistics for centrifugal

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Centrifugal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centrifugal. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for centrifugal



English Language Learners Definition of centrifugal

technical : moving away from a center : acting in a direction away from a center


cen·​trif·​u·​gal | \ sen-ˈtrif-yə-gəl, -ˈtrif-i-gəl How to pronounce centrifugal (audio) \

Medical Definition of centrifugal

: passing outward (as from a nerve center to a muscle or gland) : efferent

Other Words from centrifugal

centrifugally \ -​gə-​lē How to pronounce centrifugal (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on centrifugal

Nglish: Translation of centrifugal for Spanish Speakers

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