ki·​net·​ic | \ kə-ˈne-tik also kī- How to pronounce kinetic (audio) \

Definition of kinetic

1 : of or relating to the motion of material bodies and the forces and energy associated therewith
b : dynamic, energizing a kinetic performer
3 : of or relating to kinetic art

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Other Words from kinetic

kinetically \ kə-​ˈne-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce kinetically (audio) also  kī-​ \ adverb

Did You Know?

Kinetic comes from the Greek word kinētikos, meaning "of motion, which in turn traces to the verb kinein, meaning "to move." Compared to some other English words that have their roots in Greek, "kinetic" is a relatively young English word; the earliest evidence we have of its use is from 1864. Although it deals with the motion of images rather than material bodies, the word cinema can also be traced back to "kinein." The verb "kinein" is the source of the Greek kinēma, meaning "movement, to which the French referred in the coining of their "cinématographe." "Cinématographe" is the word that gave rise to the English word cinematograph, of which "cinema" is simply a shortened form.

Examples of kinetic in a Sentence

the novel's plot is kinetic and fast-paced, and its effect on the reader is much like that of a surfeit of caffeine the loft district is the locus of the city's kinetic arts scene
Recent Examples on the Web But last year was a return to form—from the kinetic action to the dazzling cinematography to the technical team building out rootkits on a Linux OS for fun. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Time for the f-society Christmas Special in Mr. Robot’s final season trailer," 28 Aug. 2019 The end result is a kinetic action movie hiding out in a drama that firmly resonates in ways its imitators rarely do or even try to pull off. Phil Pirrello, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'The Bourne Supremacy' Spawned Action Imitators," 23 July 2019 No amount of what the Pentagon euphemistically refers to as kinetic action will stabilize the region. Andrew J. Bacevich, Twin Cities, "Andrew Bacevich: Trump’s reluctance to bomb foreign countries is a strength, not a sign of weakness," 4 July 2019 Women will wear Plexiglas cloche hats and tube clothing; men will wear elliptical pants and kinetic tunics. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Back to the Future With Pierre Cardin’s Space-Age Fashion," 22 Aug. 2019 Case in point: sculptor Michael MacMillan, whose bold, kinetic pieces take pride of place in several prominent locations in Nelson and in numerous private and public collections. Fortune, "New Zealand’s Hottest Destination Is One You’ve Likely Never Heard Of," 18 Aug. 2019 The size and distribution of the spots therefore depends on kinetic factors such as how quickly each of the molecules diffuses. Quanta Magazine, "For Embryo’s Cells, Size Can Determine Fate," 12 Aug. 2019 Each Brixel is controlled through an app and can rotate on command to a specific position, one-upping the regular old brick by turning a facade into a kinetic surface. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Say hello to ‘Brixel’, 2018’s answer to the brick," 16 Oct. 2018 This would be much more effective against large numbers of drones than jammers or even kinetic weapons like machine guns. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Army Wants To Microwave Drones in Midair," 13 Aug. 2019

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

1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for kinetic

Greek kinētikos, from kinētos, from kinein — see -kinesis

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Last Updated

29 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for kinetic

The first known use of kinetic was in 1864

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More Definitions for kinetic


How to pronounce kinetic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of kinetic

: of or relating to the movement of physical objects


ki·​net·​ic | \ kə-ˈne-tik How to pronounce kinetic (audio) , kī-\

Kids Definition of kinetic

: relating to the motions of objects and the forces associated with them kinetic energy


ki·​net·​ic | \ kə-ˈnet-ik How to pronounce kinetic (audio) , kī- How to pronounce kinetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of kinetic

: of or relating to the motion of material bodies and the forces and energy associated therewith

Other Words from kinetic

kinetically adverb

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Comments on kinetic

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


to speed up the process or progress of

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