ki·net·ic | \kə-ˈne-tik also kī- \

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 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

Her music is chirpy and kinetic, but weird chords and nervous bits rustling in the orchestra suggest that Josephine fears that his plan to enlist is dangerous. New York Times, "A Soldier’s Racially Charged Suicide Becomes a Powerful Opera," 13 June 2018 Plenty of bands try to outgrow pop-punk; few manage to replace its kinetic catharsis. Chris Payne, Billboard, "5 Seconds of Summer Want You Back: 'Our Purpose Is Very Different Than Other Bands'," 23 June 2018 Driving the Envision reveals no kinetic shortcomings. Al Haas,, "Refreshed for 2019, Buick Envision is roomy, comfortable, and quiet," 12 July 2018 Epp makes the Once-ler a funny and even likable figure, with a kinetic Martin Short vibe and a disarmingly wheedling way about him. James Hebert,, "At Old Globe, 'The Lorax' brings Dr. Seuss' environmental saga to vivid life," 8 July 2018 Directed energy weapons reach targets at the speed of light, and have much larger magazines, cost less per shot, and track targets with precision far beyond traditional kinetic weapons. Henry Obering Iii, Fortune, "I Used to Direct the Missile Defense Agency. America Needs New Weapons," 5 July 2018 For all those who watch him, this moment represents a very specific kind of kinetic question mark. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Annoying Genius Who Makes the World Cup Worth Watching," 5 July 2018 Granik’s work in contrast feels like a salve to the kinetic blockbuster that fuels much of Hollywood’s ecosystem. Nicole Sperling, HWD, "The Filmmaker Who Discovered Jennifer Lawrence Has Found a New Star in Leave No Trace," 26 June 2018 The company’s announcement indicates protection against kinetic, blast, nuclear, biological and chemical threats. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "New futuristic Israeli 'dune-buggy' is bristling with weapons, ready for combat," 22 June 2018

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 2018

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Time Traveler for kinetic

The first known use of kinetic was in 1864

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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, 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, kī- \

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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