- the gravitational pull exerted by a celestial body that raises the tides on another body within the gravitational field, dependent on the varying distance between the bodies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- A secondary effect of the gravitational forces between two objects orbiting each other, such as the Earth and the Moon, that tends to elongate each body along the axis of a line connecting their centers. Tidal forces are responsible for the fluctuation of the tides as well as for the synchronous rotation of certain moons as they orbit their planets.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.