[ sen-trip-i-tl ]
/ sɛnˈtrɪp ɪ tl /
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directed toward the center (opposed to centrifugal).
operating by centripetal force.
Physiology. afferent.



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Origin of centripetal

1700–10; <New Latin centripet(us) center-seeking (centri-centri- + -petus, derivative of Latin petere to seek) + -al1
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. 2021

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
centripetally, adverb
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

Medical 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.

Scientific 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.
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