escape velocity


Definition of escape velocity

: the minimum velocity that a moving body (such as a rocket) must have to escape from the gravitational field of a celestial body (such as the earth) and move outward into space

Examples of escape velocity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To achieve Earth-escape velocity, a second firing will end about 53 minutes after liftoff, after which the spacecraft will be released on its journey to Mars. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA’s most complex, ambitious rover yet is on its way to Mars [Updated]," 30 July 2020 Two Centaur firings were required to boost the Perseverance rover and its planetary cruise stage to an Earth-escape velocity of about 26,000 mph. William Harwood, CBS News, "NASA launches Mars Perseverance rover on mission to the red planet," 30 July 2020 Younger kids can match pictures of celestial objects, and older kids and adults can learn facts about space, like the escape velocity of the earth. Popular Science, "Trivia games that (might) count as home schooling," 27 Mar. 2020 Its shares achieved escape velocity earlier this week thanks to the Wuhan coronavirus contagion that’s going global. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "This surprising sector is beating the S&P 500, and it seems impervious to coronavirus," 29 Jan. 2020 What the company needs, though, is escape velocity. Washington Post, "Tesla Needs Even More Than Ludicrous Speed," 20 Sep. 2019 With escape velocity in mind, don’t let up on the throttle one bit. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "A powerful concept used by NASA can help you get your ideas off the ground," 19 Oct. 2019 In the late 18th century, the scientist John Michell pondered what would happen if a star were so massive, and its gravity so strong, that its escape velocity would be equivalent to the speed of light. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "The Fuzzball Fix for a Black Hole Paradox," 23 June 2015 Secret was one of the last pop-up social networks to approach something resembling escape velocity. Casey Newton, The Verge, "There’s a crack at the heart of Facebook’s advertising business," 4 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'escape velocity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of escape velocity

1934, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about escape velocity

Time Traveler for escape velocity

Time Traveler

The first known use of escape velocity was in 1934

See more words from the same year

Statistics for escape velocity

Cite this Entry

“Escape velocity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on escape velocity Encyclopedia article about escape velocity

Comments on escape velocity

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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