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[grav-i-tee] /ˈgræv ɪ ti/
noun, plural gravities.
the force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall toward the center of the earth.
heaviness or weight.
gravitation in general.
a unit of acceleration equal to the acceleration of gravity. Symbol: g.
serious or critical nature:
He seemed to ignore the gravity of his illness.
serious or dignified behavior; dignity; solemnity:
to preserve one's gravity in the midst of chaos.
lowness in pitch, as of sounds.
Origin of gravity
1500-10; < Latin gravitāt- (stem of gravitās) heaviness, equivalent to grav(is) heavy, grave2 + -itāt- -ity
Related forms
nongravity, noun, plural nongravities.
6. seriousness, danger, emergency, import. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gravity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then there are twistings of mouths which never lost their gravity before.

    Dr. Bullivant Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • This is because it is heavier than air, and gravity draws it to the ground.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • She leaned forward, observing her profile; gravity seemed to be her mood.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • A ton on some other planet, where the attraction of gravity is less, does not weigh half a ton.

    Pax Vobiscum Henry Drummond
  • Mr. Dodge looked distrustful; but John Effingham maintained his gravity.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for gravity


noun (pl) -ties
the force of attraction that moves or tends to move bodies towards the centre of a celestial body, such as the earth or moon
the property of being heavy or having weight See also specific gravity, centre of gravity
another name for gravitation
seriousness or importance, esp as a consequence of an action or opinion
manner or conduct that is solemn or dignified
lowness in pitch
(modifier) of or relating to gravity or gravitation or their effects: gravity wave, gravity feed
Word Origin
C16: from Latin gravitās weight, from gravis heavy
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 gravity

c.1500, "weight, dignity, seriousness," from Middle French gravité "seriousness, thoughtfulness," and directly from Latin gravitatem (nominative gravitas) "weight, heaviness, pressure," from gravis "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). The scientific sense of "force that gives weight to objects" first recorded 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gravity in Science
The fundamental force of attraction that all objects with mass have for each other. Like the electromagnetic force, gravity has effectively infinite range and obeys the inverse-square law. At the atomic level, where masses are very small, the force of gravity is negligible, but for objects that have very large masses such as planets, stars, and galaxies, gravity is a predominant force, and it plays an important role in theories of the structure of the universe. Gravity is believed to be mediated by the graviton, although the graviton has yet to be isolated by experiment. Gravity is weaker than the strong force, the electromagnetic force, and the weak force. Also called gravitation. See more at acceleration, relativity.

Our Living Language  : With his law of universal gravitation, Sir Isaac Newton described gravity as the mutual attraction between any two bodies in the universe. He developed an equation describing an instantaneous gravitational effect that any two objects, no matter how far apart or how small, exert on each other. These effects diminish as the distance between the objects gets larger and as the masses of the objects get smaller. His theory explained both the trajectory of a falling apple and the motion of the planets—hitherto completely unconnected phenomena—using the same equations. Albert Einstein developed the first revision of these ideas. Einstein needed to extend his theory of Special Relativity to be able to understand cases in which bodies were subject to forces and acceleration, as in the case of gravity. According to Special Relativity, however, the instantaneous gravitational effects in Newton's theory would not be possible, for to act instantaneously, gravity would have to travel at infinite velocities, faster than the speed of light, the upper limit of velocity in Special Relativity. To overcome these inconsistencies, Einstein developed the theory of General Relativity, which connected gravity, mass, and acceleration in a new manner. Imagine, he said, an astronaut standing in a stationary rocket on the Earth. Because of the Earth's gravity, his feet are pressed against the rocket's floor with a force equal to his weight. Now imagine him in the same rocket, this time accelerating in outer space, far from any significant gravity. The accelerating rocket pushing against his feet creates a force indistinguishable from that of a gravitational field. Developing this principle of equivalence, Einstein showed that mass itself forms curves in space and time and that the effects of gravity are related to the trajectories taken by objects—even objects without mass, such as light. Whether gravity can be united with the other fundamental forces understood in quantum mechanics remains unclear.

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

gravity definition

Another term for gravitation, especially as it affects objects near the surface of the Earth.

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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