centripetal

adjective cen·trip·e·tal \ sen-ˈtri-pə-tᵊl \

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

centripetally

play \-tə-lē\ adverb

Recent Examples of centripetal from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of centripetal

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


CENTRIPETAL Defined for English Language Learners

centripetal

adjective

Definition of centripetal for English Language Learners

  • : moving toward a center : acting in a direction toward a center


Medical Dictionary

centripetal

adjective cen·trip·e·tal \ sen-ˈtrip-ət-ᵊl \

medical Definition of centripetal

: passing inward (as from a sense organ to the brain or spinal cord) : afferent

centripetally

play \-ᵊl-ē\ adverb

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up centripetal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to lessen the seriousness or strength of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's That From? A Word Origin Quiz

  • turris-babel-by-athanasius-kircher
  • What language gave the word robot to English?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!