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centripetal force

noun
1.
the force, acting upon a body moving along a curved path, that is directed toward the center of curvature of the path and constrains the body to the path.
Origin of centripetal force
1700-1710
First recorded in 1700-10
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for centripetal force
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As if sucked upward by a centripetal force it rose in the air.

    Lore of Proserpine Maurice Hewlett
  • Considering the motion as circular, a force along the radius, a radial or centripetal force, must be acting continually.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • If this is the centripetal force pulling a planet or satellite in, it must be equal to the centrifugal force of this latter, viz.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • The moving mass pulls at the elastic—that is its centrifugal force; the hand at the centre pulls also—that is centripetal force.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • centripetal force, strictly, may be defined as that force which is always exerted towards the centre of the attracting body.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • In their case another force is demanded which shall be the exact complement and counterpart of the centripetal force.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • Let us therefore apply the centripetal force, or Gravitation Attraction, to the solar system, and see how it works out.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • Let us again refer to the centripetal force, so that we may see exactly what its governing conditions are.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • There, the centripetal force of the wind is so great that it appears to draw birds into the "eye" of the hurricane.

British Dictionary definitions for centripetal force

centripetal force

noun
1.
a force that acts inwards on any body that rotates or moves along a curved path and is directed towards the centre of curvature of the path or the axis of rotation Compare centrifugal force
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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centripetal force in Science
centripetal force  

A force acting on a moving body at an angle to the direction of motion, tending to make the body follow a circular or curved path. The force of gravity acting on a satellite in orbit is an example of a centripetal force; the friction of the tires of a car making a turn similarly provides centripetal force on the car.

Our Living Language  : In a popular carnival ride, people stand with their backs against the wall of a cylindrical chamber. The chamber spins rapidly, the floor drops out, but the riders remain pressed against the wall without falling. Although the riders may insist they stay aboard because of an outward force pushing them against the wall, the reality is the opposite: the riders are subject to an inward, or centripetal, force. As the ride spins, it forces the riders to travel in a circle. According to Isaac Newton's law of inertia, objects in motion tend to travel in a straight line at constant speed unless acted on by an external force. To make an object travel along a curved path, a force must keep the object moving toward the center of curvature—in this case the axis of rotation. The wall of the ride's cylindrical chamber accomplishes this by pushing the riders toward the center (with the friction between the riders and the wall holding the riders up). The force of the Earth's gravity acts as a centripetal force on orbiting objects, such as the Earth's Moon, which is constantly being accelerated toward the center of the Earth, as in free fall. The Moon has enough inertia not to plummet into the Earth but not so much that it can escape the Earth's pull, and thus it will orbit almost indefinitely.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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