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

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 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 But filmmakers soon grasped the centripetal seductions of the human face in tight focus. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 6 Dec. 2021 What about the magnitude of the centripetal acceleration? Rhett Allain, Wired, 15 Oct. 2021 The contemporary designs in the show, with their striking colors, detailed craftsmanship and conceptual twists, can seem light years away from their sturdy, functional ancestors, like a centripetal spring chair made by Thomas Warren in 1849. Emily Ferguson, WSJ, 1 Oct. 2021 Centrifugal throws things out and away, and centripetal pulls inward like a whirlpool. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, 23 July 2021 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 See More

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.

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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centripetal force

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Centripetal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for centripetal


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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