1709, from Modern Latin, coined 1687 by Sir Isaac Newton (who wrote in Latin), from Latin centri- alternative comb. form of centrum "center" (see center (n.)) + petere "to make for, go to; seek, strive after" (see petition (n.)). Centripetal force is Newton's vim ... centripetam.
Moving or directed toward a center or axis, particularly one around which an object is spinning.
Transmitting nerve impulses toward the brain or spinal cord; afferent.
Developing or progressing inward toward a center or axis, as in the growth of plant structures. For example, in the disk of the inflorescence of a sunflower, the florets near the edge open first, and the ones in the center last. Compare centrifugal.