Coriolis effect

  1. the apparent deflection (Coriolis acceleration) of a body in motion with respect to the earth, as seen by an observer on the earth, attributed to a fictitious force (Coriolis force) but actually caused by the rotation of the earth and appearing as a deflection to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and a deflection to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.

Origin of Coriolis effect

1965–70; named after Gaspard G. Coriolis (died 1843), French civil engineer
Also called deflecting force. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for coriolis force

Coriolis force

  1. a fictitious force used to explain a deflection in the path of a body moving in latitude relative to the earth when observed from the earth. The deflection (Coriolis effect) is due to the earth's rotation and is to the east when the motion is towards a pole

Word Origin for Coriolis force

C19: named after Gaspard G. Coriolis (1792–1843), French civil engineer
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

Word Origin and History for coriolis force

Coriolis effect


1969 (earlier Coriolis force, 1923, and other references back to 1912), from the name of French scientist Gaspard Gustave de Coriolis (1792-1843) who described it c.1835.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

coriolis force in Science

Coriolis force

  1. A velocity-dependent pseudo force used mathematically to describe the motion of bodies in rotating reference frames such as the Earth's surface. Bodies moving on the plane of rotation appear to experience a force, leftward if the rotation of the reference frame is clockwise, rightward if counterclockwise. Such motion gives rise to the Coriolis effect.

Coriolis effect

  1. The observed effect of the Coriolis force, especially the deflection of objects or substances (such as air) moving along the surface of the Earth, rightward in the Northern Hemisphere and leftward in the Southern Hemisphere. The Coriolis effect is named after the French engineer Gustave Gaspard Coriolis (1792-1843).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

coriolis force in Culture

Coriolis effect


An apparent force ultimately due to the rotation of the Earth. It is the Coriolis effect that makes the air in storms rotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.