Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "centripetal" [cen•trip•e•tal]

  • Moving or directed toward a center or axis. (adjective)
  • Operated by means of centripetal force. (adjective)
  • Physiology Transmitting nerve impulses toward the central nervous system; afferent. (adjective)
  • 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. (adjective)
  • Tending or directed toward centralization: the centripetal effects of a homogeneous population. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "centripetal" in a sentence
  • "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."
  • "This force is known as centripetal force and it is always directed toward the center of rotation."
  • "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."