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[ak-sel-uh-rey-shuh n] /ækˌsɛl əˈreɪ ʃən/
the act of accelerating; increase of speed or velocity.
a change in velocity.
Mechanics. the time rate of change of velocity with respect to magnitude or direction; the derivative of velocity with respect to time.
Origin of acceleration
First recorded in 1525-35, acceleration is from the Latin word accelerātiōn- (stem of accelerātiō). See accelerate, -ion
Related forms
nonacceleration, noun
overacceleration, noun
reacceleration, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for acceleration
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Its mean density is not very great so that the acceleration of gravity did not exceed one-two-thousandths of the earth's.

    Edison's Conquest of Mars Garrett Putnam Serviss
  • The gravity pull of acceleration let up slowly as I clung to the ladder.

    A Spaceship Named McGuire Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Any unevenness in the acceleration and compression of the air produces drift.

  • The acceleration lasted for a few seconds, tapered off quickly, and ended.

    Pushbutton War Joseph P. Martino
  • Collins yelled and cursed, he tried to pull off the acceleration webbing and claw through the airlock.

    The Last Place on Earth James Judson Harmon
British Dictionary definitions for acceleration


the act of accelerating or the state of being accelerated
the rate of increase of speed or the rate of change of velocity a
the power to accelerate a
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acceleration

1530s, from Latin accelerationem (nominative acceleratio) "a hastening," noun of action from past participle stem of accelerare (see accelerate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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acceleration in Science
The rate of change of the velocity of a moving body. An increase in the magnitude of the velocity of a moving body (an increase in speed) is called a positive acceleration; a decrease in speed is called a negative acceleration. Acceleration, like velocity, is a vector quantity, so any change in the direction of a moving body is also an acceleration. A moving body that follows a curved path, even when its speed remains constant, is undergoing acceleration. See more at gravity, relativity.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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acceleration in Culture

acceleration definition

A change in the velocity of an object.

Note: The most familiar kind of acceleration is a change in the speed of an object. An object that stays at the same speed but changes direction, however, is also being accelerated. (See force.)
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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