free fall


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

Examples of free fall in a Sentence

Sales were in free fall.
Recent Examples on the Web But there are reasons why the Spurs (3-11) have been in free fall since. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2023 Within 72 hours, the flare-up in the Marina had transformed from a nonlethal assault into a news story of seemingly global import — another data point about a city in free fall. Jesse Barron, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023 In recent weeks and months, many UN officials and diplomats have worried that the organization is in free fall. Richard Gowan, Foreign Affairs, 9 Nov. 2023 University Park’s Shania Davis earns free fall tuition at SIUC University Park’s Shania Davis got a jump-start on her college education by participating in the Dr. Seymour Bryson Future Scholars Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale this summer. C.r. Walker, Chicago Tribune, 22 Aug. 2023 Since winning the election, the lira has been in free fall, plummeting by more than 15%. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 9 June 2023 But the reality is that the movie is already in free fall by the time its feverish extra half-hour of blood, screaming and fire kicks in. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2023 Some predicted a free fall of support for the final compromise beyond just the roughly three dozen far-right members of the Freedom Caucus. Rachel Siegel, Jeff Stein, Paul Kane and Leigh Ann Caldwell, The Washington Post, Anchorage Daily News, 26 May 2023 The Cubs’ promising start in April has hit a road block in May, while the Sox remain in a free fall after series losses to the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros. Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune, 15 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'free fall.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of free fall was in 1851

Dictionary Entries Near free fall

Cite this Entry

“Free fall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a condition of falling freely (as before opening one's parachute)

Medical Definition

free fall

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

More from Merriam-Webster on free fall

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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