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free fall

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noun
the hypothetical fall of a body such that the only force acting upon it is that of gravity.
the part of a parachute jump that precedes the opening of the parachute.
a decline, especially a sudden or rapid decline, as in value or prestige, that appears to be endless or bottomless: The economy was in a free fall all winter.
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Also free-fall (for defs. 1, 2).

Origin of free fall

First recorded in 1915–20

Other definitions for free fall (2 of 2)

free-fall
[ free-fawl ]
/ ˈfriˌfɔl /

verb (used without object), free-fell, free-fall·en, free-fall·ing.
(of parachutists) to descend initially, as for a designated interval, in a free fall: The jumpers were required to free-fall for eight seconds.
adjective
denoting or suggesting a free fall: a free-fall recession.
noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use free fall in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for free fall

free fall

noun
free descent of a body in which the gravitational force is the only force acting on it
the part of a parachute descent before the parachute opens
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

Cultural definitions for free fall

free fall

In physics, the motion of a body being acted upon only by gravity. A satellite in orbit is in free fall, as is a skydiver (if we neglect the effects of air resistance).

notes for free fall

During free fall, objects are said to be weightless.
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.

Other Idioms and Phrases with free fall

free fall

A rapid, uncontrolled decline, as in The markets threatened to go into free fall and we came close to outright panic. This term transfers the aeronautical meaning of a free fall, that is, “a fall through the air without any impedance, such as a parachute,” to other kinds of precipitous drop. [Second half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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