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 centripetal (audio) \ adverb

Examples of centripetal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These emerging centripetal forces couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time, with the U.K. hailing its departure from the EU as a fundamental reason behind its successful vaccination rollout. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 21 May 2021 But even this most epic of tales is shaped by the centripetal forces of human nature. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 5 May 2021 The clean, centripetal choreography that once stood for the global has given way to contaminated streams and surges. Jason Farago, New York Times, 25 Mar. 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, 18 Mar. 2021 The gravitational force makes the planet accelerate and move around in a circle (centripetal acceleration). Rhett Allain, Wired, 8 Mar. 2021 The magnitude of acceleration for an object like this is called centripetal acceleration (which means center-pointing). Rhett Allain, Wired, 16 Jan. 2021 Centrifugal forces are overpowering centripetal ones. David Meyer, Fortune, 2 Nov. 2020 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, 16 Feb. 2018

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

Last Updated

30 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Centripetal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for centripetal



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 centripetal (audio) \ adverb


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