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 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, "The Perpetual Disappointment of Remote Work," 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, "F&S Classics: Carp Crazy," 5 Dec. 2020 Think back to the vaguely familiar high school science terms of centripetal force and angular momentum. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Hurricane Delta bears striking resemblance to Wilma, the Atlantic's most intense hurricane on record," 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, "Don’t let children just watch the weather—have them create it instead.," 10 June 2020 These days, more of my thoughts arrive as trite, Twitter-size observations, and my more offbeat tastes have been transformed into smoother, more mainstream ones by the centripetal force of algorithmic recommendations. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Welcome to the ‘Rabbit Hole’," 16 Apr. 2020 The force that causes this circular acceleration is then called the centripetal force. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How to Whirl a Squirrel off of a Bird Feeder," 11 Apr. 2020 The centrifugal forces pulling Europe apart would finally overwhelm the centripetal forces binding it together. Simon Nixon, WSJ, "How the EU Survived the Populist Wave in 2017," 17 Dec. 2017 Such notions, notes a disinterested British official, run up against the centripetal forces that drive many EU countries to remain as close to the core as possible. The Economist, "Charlemagne: The ghost at the banquetBritain’s planned departure is already changing Brussels," 2 Nov. 2017

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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Statistics for centripetal force

Last Updated

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Centripetal force.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal%20force. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for centripetal force

centripetal force


English Language Learners Definition of centripetal force

physics : 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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