centrifugal

1 of 2

adjective

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

centrifugal

2 of 2

noun

: a centrifugal machine or a drum in such a machine

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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
When Angus accidentally injures himself, the results are physically minor but dramatically major, giving the plot a centrifugal kick—hospital, bar, party—that tantalizes the trio with elusive festivity. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2023 Add-on accessories like merry-go-rounds, centrifugal funnels, and mills help the marble to pick up speed. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 22 Oct. 2023 Juicers are usually divided into two categories: masticating and centrifugal juicers. Caroline Thomason, Health, 5 July 2023 Your Questions, Answered Are masticating or centrifugal juicers better? Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 July 2023 Your Questions, Answered Is a centrifugal or masticating juicer better? Both centrifugal and masticating juicers make excellent juice. Caroline Thomason, Health, 5 July 2023 The new transmission is also quieter, by virtue of a centrifugal pendulum absorber. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, 10 Aug. 2021 One is set in the middle of the speeding centrifugal traffic that surrounds the Arc de Triomphe, one is shot thrillingly from an overhead doll’s-house view, and then there’s the spectacular climax, which unfolds on the Rue Foyatier in Montmartre, the 222-step stairway that leads to the Basilica. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 13 Mar. 2023 And for all last year’s hype about digital nomads giving up altogether on big cities and hanging out a shingle in rural idylls, what actually happened was a faster pace of centrifugal migration to suburbs and exurbs, where cars are often the only means of transportation. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Aug. 2021
Noun
The changes in both centrifugal and shearing forces acting on the raft are quite small—maybe 2 percent to 3 percent the force of normal gravity. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 16 Sep. 2022 Made from food-grade stainless steel, the 65-pound PURE does, as the name suggests, require more steps than a typical centrifugal or masticating juicer. Alyson Sheppard, Robb Report, 5 Aug. 2021 That’s what centrifugal means—to flee (fugere) the center. Rhett Allain, Wired, 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, 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, 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, 17 Oct. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'centrifugal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1813, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of centrifugal was in 1709

Dictionary Entries Near centrifugal

Cite this Entry

“Centrifugal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centrifugal. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

centrifugal

adjective
cen·​trif·​u·​gal
sen-ˈtrif-yə-gəl,
-ˈtrif-i-gəl
1
: proceeding or acting in a direction away from a center or axis
2
: using or acting by centrifugal force
Etymology

Adjective

from scientific Latin centrifugus "centrifugal," literally, "fleeing from the center," from centri- "center" and -fugus, from Latin fugere "to run away, flee" — related to fugitive, refugee

Medical Definition

centrifugal

adjective
cen·​trif·​u·​gal sen-ˈtrif-yə-gəl, -ˈtrif-i-gəl How to pronounce centrifugal (audio)
: passing outward (as from a nerve center to a muscle or gland) : efferent
centrifugally adverb

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