free fall

noun

Definition of free fall

1 : the condition of unrestrained motion in a gravitational field also : such motion
2a : the part of a parachute jump before the parachute opens
b : a rapid and continuing drop or decline a free fall in stock prices

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Other Words from free fall

free-fall \ ˈfrē-​ˌfȯl How to pronounce free-fall (audio) \ intransitive verb

Examples of free fall in a Sentence

Sales were in free fall.

Recent Examples on the Web

That means that for every second of free fall, the human's speed will increase by 9.8 m/s (hint: 9.8 m/s is fairly fast—about 22 mph). Rhett Allain, WIRED, "The Wild Physics of a Firefighter's Window Catch," 1 June 2018 Not long ago, retail stocks were in free fall as investors worried that traditional retailers couldn’t compete in the new world of e-commerce. Ben Eisen, WSJ, "Strong Consumption Is Breathing New Life Into Retail Stocks," 23 Aug. 2018 But there aren’t enough pipelines to take all the gas to market, causing some of it to become landlocked, and sending local prices into free fall. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, "In Booming Oil Field, Natural Gas Can Be Free," 27 Dec. 2018 My career was in free fall, and as a single parent, this was petrifying. John P. Darcy, Vogue, "The Year We Left New York," 27 Dec. 2018 This is because the energy required to reach orbit, in which a spacecraft is in free fall around the planet, is about 32 times greater than the energy needed for a parabolic flight to an altitude of 100km. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Virgin Galactic just flew to 82.68 kilometers—is this space?," 13 Dec. 2018 Instead, to replicate the lurches and free falls of memory, Mr. Letts has scrambled the chronology. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘Mary Page Marlowe’ Lives an Ordinary, Extraordinary Life," 12 July 2018 This is one of Northern California’s jewels, a 129-foot waterfall with a matrix of free falls and cascades. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Northern California’s 12 splashiest waterfalls," 17 May 2018 After a 12-second free fall, the parachute deployment sequence was initiated, starting with the opening of a smaller, 15.7-foot (4.8 m) pilot chute, which then triggered the opening of the second, main parachute. Tereza Pultarova, Space.com, "The Largest Parachute Ever Built for Mars Aces Its First Test," 16 May 2018

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

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for free fall

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for free fall

The first known use of free fall was in 1851

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More Definitions for free fall

free fall

noun

English Language Learners Definition of free fall

: the state or condition of falling through the air toward the ground
: the condition of quickly becoming lower, less, or fewer
: a fast or continuing drop

free fall

noun
\ -ˌfȯl How to pronounce free fall (audio) \

Medical Definition of free fall

: the condition of unrestrained motion in a gravitational field also : such motion

More from Merriam-Webster on free fall

Nglish: Translation of free fall for Spanish Speakers

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