centripetal

adjective

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

Examples of centripetal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Also, the bigger the radius of the circle, the smaller the centripetal acceleration. Rhett Allain, Wired, 15 Oct. 2021 Like centripetal and centrifugal forces, Wilson Chin’s sparse, elegant turntable set suggests that the things that tie us down can also move us forward. Juan A. Ramírez, Vulture, 3 Oct. 2022 Their mathemathical model is based on the idea that surface tension holds the water droplets to the animal's hair, and that centripetal forces from the shaking have to exceed that surface tension in order to free the water. Eliza Strickland, Discover Magazine, 22 Oct. 2010 The evidence suggests that there are centripetal forces that keep metropolitan areas from continually expanding outward, and that centripetal force is going to remain. Ian Duncan, Washington Post, 2 Dec. 2022 Here is a diagram showing the forces with a centripetal acceleration. WIRED, 25 Sep. 2022 That means the centripetal acceleration is also in the downward direction and towards the center of the circle. WIRED, 25 Sep. 2022 The three women are bound together with a centripetal intensity, in a hothouse of family mythology that Marilyn herself cultivates and tends. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2022 The actor seems always right at home in Almodóvar’s off-kilter universe, where the gravitational pull of philosophical pathos and nakedly honest emotion balances out the centripetal forces of absurdist humor and erotic camp. Sergio Burstein, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'centripetal.' 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

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

First Known Use

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of centripetal was in 1705

Dictionary Entries Near centripetal

Cite this Entry

“Centripetal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

centripetal

adjective
cen·​trip·​e·​tal sen-ˈtrip-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce centripetal (audio)
: proceeding or acting in a direction toward a center or axis
centripetally adverb

Medical Definition

centripetal

adjective
cen·​trip·​e·​tal sen-ˈtrip-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce centripetal (audio)
: passing inward (as from a sense organ to the brain or spinal cord) : afferent
centripetally adverb
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