[ sen-trif-yuh-guh l, -uh-guh l ]
/ sɛnˈtrɪf yə gəl, -ə gəl /


moving or directed outward from the center (opposed to centripetal).
pertaining to or operated by centrifugal force: a centrifugal pump.
Physiology. efferent.


  1. a machine for separating different materials by centrifugal force; a centrifuge.
  2. a rotating, perforated drum holding the materials to be separated in such a machine.

Origin of centrifugal

1715–25; < New Latin centrifug(us) center-fleeing (centri- centri- + Latin -fugus, derivative of fugere to flee) + -al1

OTHER WORDS FROM centrifugal

cen·trif·u·gal·ly, adverb


centrifugal centripetal
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for centrifugal

British Dictionary definitions for centrifugal

/ (sɛnˈtrɪfjʊɡəl, ˈsɛntrɪˌfjuːɡəl) /


acting, moving, or tending to move away from a centreCompare centripetal
of, concerned with, or operated by centrifugal forcecentrifugal pump
botany (esp of certain inflorescences) developing outwards from a centre
physiol another word for efferent


any device that uses centrifugal force for its action
the rotating perforated drum in a centrifuge

Derived forms of centrifugal

centrifugally, adverb

Word Origin for centrifugal

C18: from New Latin centrifugus, from centri- + Latin fugere to flee
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

Medicine definitions for centrifugal

[ sĕn-trĭfyə-gəl, -trĭfə- ]


Moving or directed away from a center or axis.
Transmitting nerve impulses away from the central nervous system; efferent.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for centrifugal

[ sĕn-trĭfyə-gəl, -trĭfə- ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.