Definition of pendulum
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 : something (as a state of affairs) that alternates between opposites <doesn't take much to swing the pendulum of opinion the other way>
Origin and Etymology of pendulum
New Latin, from Latin, neuter of pendulus
First Known Use: 1660
PENDULUM Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of pendulum for Students
: 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.
Seen and Heard
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