free fall


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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Bed Bath & Beyond, once a leader in kitchenware and bedding, is in free fall. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Is Bed Bath & Beyond is running out of time?," 12 July 2019 His first serious relationship, with the actress Hermione Farthingale, was in free fall. Mitch Goodwin, Quartzy, "How David Bowie created “Space Oddity,” the ultimate space anthem," 12 July 2019 A few minutes later, the two boosters separated in this burst of color and smoke before starting well-aimed free falls back to landing pads at Kennedy. Eric Adams, Popular Mechanics, "Here's What It Looked Like to Watch the World's Most Powerful Rocket Launch," 25 June 2019 But how about just letting go, allowing yourself to drift into a free fall of ease for a couple of weeks? Patricia Hampl, WSJ, "All of Summer In a Single Afternoon," 21 June 2018 During one dark period, as malnutrition and foreign diseases sent the native population into free fall, a politician piously remarked that the best that could be done for Maori was to smooth down the dying pillow of the race. Michael Bradley, National Geographic, "‘This isn’t us? Oh but it is.’ New Zealand grapples with its history," 19 Mar. 2019 Global trade almost completely collapsed and the tariff was likely responsible for about half of the free fall. Mary Anne Madeira, Fortune, "Commentary: Our Last Trade War Was a Global Disaster. This Time Won’t Be Any Different.," 6 Mar. 2018 Exports have fallen in three of the first four months of the year, manufacturing orders are down and sentiment indicators are in free fall. Nina Adam, WSJ, "U.S. Protectionist Stance Spooks Germany’s Economy," 14 June 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of free fall

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about free fall

Statistics for free fall

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for free fall

The first known use of free fall was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for free fall

free fall


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

\ -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

Comments on free fall

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


to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!