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
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 The exhibits include 13 sculptures, created by local female artists, with kinetic components such as wind or motion to align with the season’s theme. Megan Becka, cleveland, "Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens opens for the season; implements social distancing practices," 29 June 2020 Unlike The Return of the Messiah, most of Benskin’s kinetic photographs are untitled. Amy Weiss-meyer, The Atlantic, "Summer Days," 23 June 2020 Baltimore now has strict rules governing the use of kinetic impact projectiles. USA Today, "Fractured skulls, lost eyes: Police break their own rules when shooting protesters with 'rubber bullets'," 19 June 2020 They are called bird shots, rubber balls, foam bullets and kinetic impact projectiles. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, "Texas police deployed less-lethal ammunition to control protests. Now policymakers want to ban the weapons.," 9 June 2020 Tear gas, for instance, is considered a higher level of force than kinetic projectiles such as rubber bullets, which are in turn a higher level of force than pepper spray. Anchorage Daily News, "A guide to the less-lethal weapons that law enforcement uses against protesters," 7 June 2020 According to a 2016 report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO), rubber bullets are a type of kinetic impact projectile (KIP) used for crowd-control purposes. Claire Gillespie,, "Why Rubber Bullets Are So Dangerous, and What to Do if You're Shot With One," 2 June 2020 Creating a sound dramatic arc is a triumph for choreographers and dancers alike, and can make the visual and kinetic pleasures of dance that much more meaningful. Washington Post, "Storytelling is the key ingredient in the year’s best dance works," 10 Dec. 2019 Starring Gael García Bernal and Mariana di Girolamo, the film is a dazzling exploration of regret, told in an expressive, kinetic style, and features astonishing dance sequences. Mark Olsenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Indie Focus: A lost voice returns with ‘The Half of It’," 1 May 2020

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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kinetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for kinetic


How to pronounce kinetic (audio) 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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