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free fall

the hypothetical fall of a body such that the only force acting upon it is that of gravity.
the part of a parachute jump that precedes the opening of the parachute.
a decline, especially a sudden or rapid decline, as in value or prestige, that appears to be endless or bottomless:
The economy was in a free fall all winter.
Also, free-fall (for defs 1, 2).
Origin of free fall
First recorded in 1915-20


[free-fawl] /ˈfriˌfɔl/
verb (used without object), free-fell, free-fallen, free-falling.
(of parachutists) to descend initially, as for a designated interval, in a free fall:
The jumpers were required to free-fall for eight seconds.
denoting or suggesting a free fall:
a free-fall recession.
free fall (def 1, 2). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for freefall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I fell, spun, plunged head over heels through tilting lights and shadows that flung us through eternities of freefall.

    The Door Through Space Marion Zimmer Bradley
British Dictionary definitions for freefall

free fall

free descent of a body in which the gravitational force is the only force acting on it
the part of a parachute descent before the parachute opens
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 freefall

also free fall, free-fall, 1919, originally of parachutists and in rocketry, from free (adj.) + fall (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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freefall in Culture

free fall definition

In physics, the motion of a body being acted upon only by gravity. A satellite in orbit is in free fall, as is a skydiver (if we neglect the effects of air resistance).

Note: During free fall, objects are said to be weightless.
The 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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Slang definitions & phrases for freefall

free fall

noun phrase

An extremely rapid and unhindered descent •First used of a rocket returning to earth; then mainly of a parachutist who had not yet opened the parachute: the bank is trying to slow the free fall of the Mexican peso/ the Russian economy is in free fall (1919+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with freefall

free fall

A rapid, uncontrolled decline, as in The markets threatened to go into free fall and we came close to outright panic. This term transfers the aeronautical meaning of a free fall, that is, “a fall through the air without any impedance, such as a parachute,” to other kinds of precipitous drop. [ Second half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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