ki·​net·​ic | \ kə-ˈne-tik How to pronounce kinetic (audio) 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
2a : active, lively
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 kinetic (audio) also  kī-​ \ adverb

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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 The new Stasis sidearm is kinetic, but its stasis shot activates on kills, so should be harder to trigger in PvP. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 11 May 2021 And there’s no way to feel the intense vibration and noise of a kinetic sculpture like Metropolis II by Chris Burden from your laptop. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, 10 May 2021 Mythic Quest fits neatly into that tradition, having translated a lot of its potential energy into real, kinetic laughter. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 5 May 2021 The Weekender includes a kinetic recovery strap and two 3/4-inch shackles. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 2 May 2021 The texture is like a thick-brown sugar that sticks together — kind of like kinetic sand. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 1 May 2021 This experiment is all about two forms of energy: potential and kinetic. Exploratorium, Scientific American, 22 May 2014 It's called kinetic friction because the two surfaces are sliding with respect to each other. Rhett Allain, Wired, 29 Apr. 2021 Soderbergh began the broadcast with a kinetic opening-credits sequence of King clomping through Union Station, which promised a far flashier program than the one that followed. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 26 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for kinetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of kinetic was in 1864

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Last Updated

28 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kinetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for kinetic



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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