centripetal force


Definition of centripetal force

: the force that is necessary to keep an object moving in a curved path and that is directed inward toward the center of rotation a string on the end of which a stone is whirled about exerts centripetal force on the stone — compare centrifugal force

Examples of centripetal force in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For any object moving in a circle, there needs to be a centripetal force, or a force pulling it towards the circle’s center. Rhett Allain, Wired, 7 Jan. 2022 Instead, activists and political neophytes drawn into the centripetal force of Black Lives Matter in 2020 have been chastised, denigrated, and dismissed as naïve and out of touch. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, 19 Nov. 2021 Without any mind-blowing sci-fi level breakthroughs, the only practical way to imitate gravity on a trip to Mars is by spinning the spacecraft and creating a centripetal force. ABC News, 25 July 2021 The virus has been a centripetal force pushing us physically together — my children, my spouse, my work, and me — but in the best case scenario, that force will weaken soon. Washington Post, 17 May 2021 The modern city was a centripetal force spinning beyond control, operating at a scale and pace that could only be inhuman. Richard Cooke, The New Republic, 4 Jan. 2021 The spod flies through the air-centripetal force holds the crud glob in place until splashdown-then the rocker rights itself, raining a sloppy food cloud onto the lake bottom. Kirk Deeter, Field & Stream, 5 Dec. 2020 Think back to the vaguely familiar high school science terms of centripetal force and angular momentum. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, 8 Oct. 2020 This water tornado keeps its shape because of centripetal force, which pulls the water toward the center of the bottle as gravity pulls it down. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, 10 June 2020

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

1686, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for centripetal force

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The first known use of centripetal force was in 1686

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Centripetal force.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal%20force. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for centripetal force

centripetal force


English Language Learners Definition of centripetal force

: a force that pulls an object moving in a circular path toward the center of its path

More from Merriam-Webster on centripetal force

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about centripetal force


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