noun, often attributive
grav·​i·​ty | \ ˈgra-və-tē How to pronounce gravity (audio) \
plural gravities

Definition of gravity

1a : dignity or sobriety of bearing a person of gravity and learning
b : importance, significance especially : seriousness the gravity of the offense
c : a serious situation or problem
2 : weight
3a(1) : the gravitational attraction of the mass of the earth, the moon, or a planet for bodies at or near its surface
(2) : a fundamental physical force that is responsible for interactions which occur because of mass between particles, between aggregations of matter (such as stars and planets), and between particles (such as photons) and aggregations of matter, that is 10-39 times the strength of the strong force, and that extends over infinite distances but is dominant over macroscopic distances especially between aggregations of matter

called also gravitation, gravitational force

— compare electromagnetism sense 2a, strong force, weak force

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Examples of gravity in a Sentence

the hospital waiting room was filled with the kind of gravity that inevitably accompanies worry
Recent Examples on the Web The gravity of the virus and its potential impact on Mrs. Gates are substantial. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Judge suspends ex-Trump campaign aide Rick Gates' prison sentence over coronavirus," 22 Apr. 2020 But when the gravity is very strong, the ellipse moves from orbit to orbit and makes a rosette shape. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Weird Black Hole-Orbiting Star Proves Einstein Right (Again)," 16 Apr. 2020 Another unexpected feature of white dwarfs is the presence of heavier elements on their surface, when gravity should pull them toward the star's interior. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "When the Sun expands, it will trash all the asteroids," 18 Feb. 2020 The fluid sloshed as gravity pulled matter together and light waves pushed it apart. Quanta Magazine, "How Ancient Light Reveals the Universe’s Contents," 28 Jan. 2020 The trouble with super-Earths If a planet remains relatively small, with a radius less than 1.5 times Earth’s radius, then its gravity is not strong enough to hold onto a huge amount of atmosphere, like what’s on Neptune or Jupiter. Natalie Hinkel, The Conversation, "Even planets have their (size) limits," 21 Jan. 2020 That would be an indication that the gravity of an orbiting planet was affecting the star, shifting the wavelengths of light. Smithsonian, "Three Win Physics Nobel for Showing Our Place in the Cosmos," 9 Oct. 2019 At the beginning, the suspects were having a hard time understanding the gravity of the situation. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Blindfolding Bay Area teen accused of killing officer ‘unacceptable,’ says Italian prosecutor — but interrogation is still valid," 31 July 2019 Benjamin is a low-center-of-gravity back who adds needed depth at his position. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals receive rave reviews for 2020 NFL draft selections," 27 Apr. 2020

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

1505, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for gravity

Middle French or Latin; Middle French gravité, from Latin gravitat-, gravitas, from gravis — see grave entry 2

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Time Traveler for gravity

Time Traveler

The first known use of gravity was in 1505

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Statistics for gravity

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gravity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for gravity


How to pronounce gravity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gravity

: a very serious quality or condition : the condition of being grave or serious
technical : the natural force that tends to cause physical things to move towards each other : the force that causes things to fall towards the Earth


grav·​i·​ty | \ ˈgra-və-tē How to pronounce gravity (audio) \
plural gravities

Kids Definition of gravity

1 : a force of attraction that tends to draw particles or bodies together
2 : the attraction of bodies by the force of gravity toward the center of the earth
3 : great seriousness


grav·​i·​ty | \ ˈgrav-ət-ē How to pronounce gravity (audio) \
plural gravities

Medical Definition of gravity

1 : weight sense 1 used chiefly in the phrase center of gravity
2a : the gravitational attraction of the mass of the earth, the moon, or a planet for bodies at or near its surface broadly : gravitation

Other Words from gravity

gravity adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on gravity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gravity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gravity

Spanish Central: Translation of gravity

Nglish: Translation of gravity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gravity for Arabic Speakers

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