[ sen-trip-i-tl ]
/ sɛnˈtrɪp ɪ tl /


directed toward the center (opposed to centrifugal).
operating by centripetal force.
Physiology. afferent.

Origin of centripetal

1700–10; < New Latin centripet(us) center-seeking (centri- centri- + -petus, derivative of Latin petere to seek) + -al1

OTHER WORDS FROM centripetal

cen·trip·e·tal·ism, nouncen·trip·e·tal·ly, adverbun·cen·trip·e·tal, adjective


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

Examples from the Web for centripetal

British Dictionary definitions for centripetal

/ (sɛnˈtrɪpɪtəl, ˈsɛntrɪˌpiːtəl) /


acting, moving, or tending to move towards a centreCompare centrifugal
of, concerned with, or operated by centripetal force
botany (esp of certain inflorescences) developing from the outside towards the centre
physiol another word for afferent

Derived forms of centripetal

centripetally, adverb

Word Origin for centripetal

C17: from New Latin centripetus seeking the centre; see centri-, -petal
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 centripetal

[ sĕn-trĭpĭ-tl ]


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

Science definitions for centripetal

[ sĕn-trĭpĭ-tl ]

Moving or directed toward a center or axis, particularly one around which an object is spinning.
Transmitting nerve impulses toward the brain or spinal cord; afferent.
Developing or progressing inward toward a center or axis, as in the growth of plant structures. For example, in the disk of the inflorescence of a sunflower, the florets near the edge open first, and the ones in the center last. Compare centrifugal.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.