1690s, with adjectival suffix -al (1) + Modern Latin centrifugus, 1687, coined by Sir Isaac Newton (who wrote in Latin) in "Principia" (which is written in Latin), from Latin centri- alternative comb. form of centrum "center" (see center (n.)) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive). Centrifugal force is Newton's vis centrifuga.
Moving or directed away from a center or axis, usually as a result of being spun around the center or axis.
Operated in the manner of a centrifuge.
Transmitting nerve impulses away from the brain or spinal cord; efferent.
Developing or progressing outward from a center or axis, as in the growth of plant structures. For example, in a centrifugal inflorescence such as a cyme, the flowers in the center or tip open first while those on the edge open last. Compare centripetal.