escape velocity

noun Physics, Rocketry.

the minimum speed that an object at a given distance from a gravitating body must have so that it will continue to move away from the body instead of orbiting about it.

Origin of escape velocity

First recorded in 1950–55 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for escape velocity


Examples from the Web for escape velocity

Historical Examples of escape velocity

  • With contragravity, of course, terms like "escape-velocity" and "mass-ratio" were of purely antiquarian interest.

    Uller Uprising

    Henry Beam Piper, John D. Clark and John F. Carr

British Dictionary definitions for escape velocity

escape velocity


the minimum velocity that a body must have in order to escape from the gravitational field of the earth or other celestial body
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

escape velocity in Science

escape velocity


The velocity needed for a celestial body to overcome the gravitational pull of another, larger body and not fall back to that body's surface. Escape velocity is determined by the mass of the larger body and by the distance of the smaller body from the larger one's center. Depending on its initial trajectory, a smaller body traveling at the escape velocity will either enter a periodic orbit around the larger body or recede from the surface of the larger body indefinitely. The escape velocity at the Earth's surface is about 11.2 kilometers per second (25,000 miles per hour); the escape velocity on the Moon's surface is 2.4 kilometers per second (5,300 miles per hour). The escape velocity within the event horizon of a black hole is higher than the speed of light; since nothing can exceed the speed of light, nothing-even light-can escape from within the event horizon of a black hole.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

escape velocity in Culture

escape velocity

The speed an object must reach to escape the pull of gravitation exerted by another object.


To overcome the gravitation of the Earth and place an artificial satellite in orbit, a rocket must reach a speed of about 25,000 miles per hour, or about seven miles per second.
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.