American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Physics The natural phenomenon of attraction between physical objects with mass or energy.
- n. Physics The act or process of moving under the influence of this attraction.
- n. A movement toward a source of attraction: the gravitation of the middle classes to the suburbs.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The act of gravitating or tending toward a center of attraction.
- n. That attraction between bodies, or that acceleration of one toward another, of which the fall of heavy bodies to the earth is an instance. See gravity, 1. Gravitation can be neither produced nor destroyed; it acts equally between all pairs of bodies, the acceleration of each body being proportional to the mass of the other; it is neither hindered nor strengthened by any intervening medium; it occupies no time in its transmission; its force is inversely as the square of the distance; and the amount of it is such that a particle distant one centimeter from an attracting gram of matter would by the action of gravitation alone, were no other force present, fall into the center of attraction in 40 minutes and 20 seconds. Inasmuch as the masses of bodies can be measured otherwise than by their weights, namely, by their relative momentums under a given velocity, it follows that the modulus of gravitation, or the amount by which the unit mass attracts a particle at the unit distance, which is invariable, best distinguishes gravitation from every other force. The laws of the attraction of gravitation were demonstrated by Sir Isaac Newton in 1687.
- n. In philology, the tendency of sounds and syllables having little or no stress to become merged in the accented syllable, or to fall away entirely; the absorption of weaker elements.
- n. Figuratively, a prevailing tendency of mental or social forces or activities toward some particular point or result.
- n. physics The fundamental force of attraction that exists between all particles with mass in the universe. It is the weakest of the four forces, and possesses a gauge boson known as the graviton.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The act of gravitating.
- n. (Pysics) That species of attraction or force by which all bodies or particles of matter in the universe tend toward each other; called also
attraction of gravitation, universal gravitation, and universal gravity. See Attraction, and Weight.
- n. movement downward resulting from gravitational attraction
- n. (physics) the force of attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth's mass for bodies near its surface
- n. a figurative movement toward some attraction
“He carried on the work of earlier astronomers by the application of higher mathematics, and proved that the force of attraction which we call gravitation was a universal one, and that the sun and the moon and the earth, and all the heavenly bodies, are attracted to one another inversely as the square of the distance.”
“The facts of what we call gravitation are obvious, and any attempt to disregard them would result in disaster, yet no satisfactory explanation of gravitation has yet been discovered: many theories have been suggested, but no theory has yet been proved to be true.”
“To this spiritual world we may refer the marvellously complex forces which we know as gravitation, cohesion, chemical force, radiant force, and electricity, without which the material universe could not exist for”
“Jules Galdea explained to us that these revolving fan-like wheels on top of the cars destroyed atmospheric pressure, or what is generally understood by the term gravitation, and with this force thus destroyed or rendered nugatory the car is as safe from falling to one side or the other from the single rail track as if it were in a vacuum; the fly wheels in their rapid revolutions destroying effectually the so-called power of gravitation, or the force of atmospheric pressure or whatever potent influence it may be that causes all unsupported things to fall downward to the earth's surface or to the nearest point of resistance.”
“The analogy is not exact because, in gravitation, there is no analogy to a magnetic field and negative gravitational “charge” does not exist (it would violate the TCP theorem).”
“The “universal” theory of gravitation is also coming under increasing fire as critics point out that the force of gravity is by no means universal.”
“From personal experience, I participated in many friendly design-like discussions in science class, and enjoyed contemplating (at the time, as an unbeliever) comments from science professors about, for example, how "lucky we are" that the law of gravitation is an inverse square law.”
“General Relativity tells us that gravitation is essentially curvature due to the energy contained in a region, so the condensation of enough vacuum energy over a region of space effectively convertes this energy to the positve mass density of real particles, and so this 'departure' is maintained in this manner.”
“What we call gravitation, and fancy ultimate, is one fork of a mightier stream for which we have yet no name.”
“The principle that one can always find an inertial frame at every point of space and time in which physics follows the laws in the absence of gravitation is called the Equivalence Principle.”
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