Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Moving or directed toward a center or axis.
  • adj. Operated by means of centripetal force.
  • adj. Physiology Transmitting nerve impulses toward the central nervous system; afferent.
  • adj. Botany Developing or progressing inward toward the center or axis, as in the head of a sunflower, in which the oldest flowers are near the edge and the youngest flowers are in the center.
  • adj. Tending or directed toward centralization: the centripetal effects of a homogeneous population.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. directed or moving towards a centre
  • adj. of, relating to, or operated by centripetal force
  • adj. directed towards the central nervous system; afferent

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Tending, or causing, to approach the center.
  • adj.
  • adj. Expanding first at the base of the inflorescence, and proceeding in order towards the summit.
  • adj. Having the radicle turned toward the axis of the fruit, as some embryos.
  • adj. Progressing by changes from the exterior of a thing toward its center.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Tending or moving toward the center: opposed to centrifugal.
  • Progressing by changes from the exterior of an object to its center: as, the centripetal calcification of a bone.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. tending to unify
  • adj. tending to move toward a center
  • adj. of a nerve fiber or impulse originating outside and passing toward the central nervous system

Etymologies

From New Latin coined by Sir Isaac Newton, from Latin centri- (centrum) "center" + petere "to fall, rush out" (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • That force which opposes itself to this endeavor, and by which the sling continually draws back the stone toward the hand and retains it in its orbit, because it is directed to the hand as the center of the orbit, I call the centripetal force.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • This force is known as centripetal force and it is always directed toward the center of rotation.

    Wind

  • But in gaining speed by nosing over, the runaway prop spun just that much faster, increasing its likelihood of busting loose according to an altogether predictable law of physics known as centripetal disintegration.

    First Man

  • The force which retains the celestial bodies in their orbits has been hitherto called centripetal force; but it being now made plain that it can be no other than a gravitating force, we shall hereafter call it gravity.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • Under their influence, all subordinate worlds would be carried away into space, were it not for the complementary Law of Gravitation Attraction, that is, the centripetal force.

    Aether and Gravitation

  • -- This attraction of the earth, which gives articles the property of weight, is termed centripetal force -- that is, the drawing in of a body.

    Practical Mechanics for Boys

  • The force which draws the revolving body continually to the center, or the deflecting force, is called the centripetal force, and, aside from the impelling and retarding forces which act in the direction of its motion, the centripetal force is, dynamically speaking, the only force which is exerted on the body.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 531, March 6, 1886

  • The former is called centripetal, and the latter centrifugal motion.

    Aeroplanes

  • May not this so-called centripetal force be identical with terrestrial gravitation?

    A History of Science: in Five Volumes. Volume II: The Beginnings of Modern Science

  • ` ` The force which retains the celestial bodies in their orbits has been hitherto called centripetal force; but it being now made plain that it can be no other than a gravitating force, we shall hereafter call it gravity.

    A History of Science: in Five Volumes. Volume II: The Beginnings of Modern Science

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