pendulum

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noun pen·du·lum \ˈpen-jə-ləm, ˈpen-dyə-, -də-\

Definition of pendulum

  1. 1 :  a body suspended from a fixed point so as to swing freely to and fro under the action of gravity and commonly used to regulate movements (as of clockwork)

  2. 2 :  something (such as a state of affairs) that alternates between opposites doesn't take much to swing the pendulum of opinion the other way

Recent Examples of pendulum from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pendulum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pendulum

New Latin, from Latin, neuter of pendulus

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


PENDULUM Defined for English Language Learners

pendulum

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noun

Definition of pendulum for English Language Learners

  • : a stick with a weight at the bottom that swings back and forth inside a clock


PENDULUM Defined for Kids

pendulum

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noun pen·du·lum \ˈpen-jə-ləm, -dyə-\

Definition of pendulum for Students

  1. :  a weight hung from a point so as to swing freely back and forth under the action of gravity

Word Root of pendulum

The Latin word pendere, meaning “to cause to hang down,” gives us the root pend. Words from the Latin pendere have something to do with hanging. To suspend is to cause something to hang down from a single point. To depend is to hang, or rely, on the support of others. A pendant is an ornament that hangs free, as on a necklace. A pendulum is an object hung from a point that swings freely back and forth, as in a clock.



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