cen·​trip·​e·​tal | \ sen-ˈtri-pə-tᵊl How to pronounce centripetal (audio) \

Definition of centripetal

1 : proceeding or acting in a direction toward a center or axis centripetal acceleration of a body
2 : afferent centripetal nerves
3 : tending toward centralization : unifying centripetal factors that hold the parts together

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Other Words from centripetal

centripetally \ sen-​ˈtri-​pə-​tə-​lē How to pronounce centripetally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of centripetal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And even where Republicans represent urban and/or coastal communities, or high-immigration populations, the centripetal power of the GOP’s core constituencies make compromise difficult. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Rural America Controls the Debates Over Guns and Immigration," 16 Feb. 2018 The forces at work in healthy party politics are centripetal David Frum, The Atlantic, "Challenging the Dogmas of Right and Left," 18 Sep. 2017 The forces at work in healthy party politics are centripetal Mark Lilla, WSJ, "The Liberal Crackup," 11 Aug. 2017 Stacked guitar swells break away at the song’s midpoint, low and rumbling, stepping just ahead of the beat; the effect is wistful and centripetal, the sound of moving forward with friends who know your past. The New Yorker, "Pinegrove," 21 Apr. 2017 But SESAME shows the centripetal force of the global scientific enterprise. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, "Scientists from enemy nations create a beacon for peace in the Middle East," 15 May 2017 Tiffany seems intent on staying close to her centripetal father. Alessandra Stanley, New York Times, "The Other Trump," 1 Oct. 2016 At such an instant in such a case, the force pushing towards the center of the circle (thus the centripetal force) would be the centrifugal force. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "When the centrifugal force is the centripetal force," 26 Apr. 2009

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'centripetal.' 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 centripetal

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for centripetal

New Latin centripetus, from centr- + Latin petere to go to, seek — more at feather

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Time Traveler for centripetal

Time Traveler

The first known use of centripetal was in 1705

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Statistics for centripetal

Cite this Entry

“Centripetal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for centripetal


How to pronounce centripetal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of centripetal

technical : moving toward a center : acting in a direction toward a center


cen·​trip·​e·​tal | \ sen-ˈtrip-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce centripetal (audio) \

Medical Definition of centripetal

: passing inward (as from a sense organ to the brain or spinal cord) : afferent

Other Words from centripetal

centripetally \ -​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce centripetally (audio) \ adverb

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