[ sen-trif-yuh-guhl, -uh-guhl ]
See synonyms for centrifugal on Thesaurus.com
  1. moving or directed outward from the center (opposed to centripetal).

  2. pertaining to or operated by centrifugal force: a centrifugal pump.

  1. Physiology. efferent.

  1. Machinery.

    • a machine for separating different materials by centrifugal force; a centrifuge.

    • 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

Words that may be confused with centrifugal

Words Nearby centrifugal

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use centrifugal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for centrifugal


/ (sɛnˈtrɪfjʊɡəl, ˈsɛntrɪˌfjuːɡəl) /

  1. acting, moving, or tending to move away from a centre: Compare centripetal

  2. of, concerned with, or operated by centrifugal force: centrifugal pump

  1. botany (esp of certain inflorescences) developing outwards from a centre

  2. physiol another word for efferent

  1. any device that uses centrifugal force for its action

  2. the rotating perforated drum in a centrifuge

Origin of centrifugal

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

Derived forms of centrifugal

  • centrifugally, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for centrifugal


[ sĕn-trĭfyə-gəl, -trĭfə- ]

  1. Moving or directed away from a center or axis, usually as a result of being spun around the center or axis.

  2. Operated in the manner of a centrifuge.

  1. Transmitting nerve impulses away from the brain or spinal cord; efferent.

  2. 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.