Definition of free fall in English:

free fall


  • 1[mass noun] Downward movement under the force of gravity only.

    ‘the path of a body in free fall’
    • ‘How long the actual jump lasts: About one minute in free fall and another five minutes in the parachute.’
    • ‘In all conditions except that of free fall, a live body can be distinguished from an inert structure by the relative disposition of the body parts, its ‘posture’.’
    • ‘Benedetti was an important forerunner of Galileo, worked on the free fall of bodies and proposed a theory almost identical to that which Galileo published in De motu in 1590.’
    • ‘The contents of the plane are effectively in free-fall, creating weightlessness for all those on-board… and nausea!’
    • ‘It was an odd sensation, feeling as though one were sitting still, though simultaneously moving at some unguessable speed that could have been a snail's pace or free fall in a void.’
    • ‘That includes parachuting - both static line and free fall, scuba diving, land navigation, vehicle and boat.’
    • ‘Finally, mathematical concepts and procedures quite different from those of medieval natural philosophers were adopted by Galileo in reaching his basic law of free fall of heavy bodies.’
    • ‘Most people at that time believed that the speed of a body in free fall was proportional to the distance it had fallen.’
    • ‘Each of the stones whose trajectory Newton illustrated was in free fall toward Earth.’
    • ‘One was given the impression of a man in free fall descending like a fallen angel into the unforgiving landscape below.’
    • ‘I can't think of any other film which understands that outside a gravity well, all objects are in free fall.’
    • ‘In free fall everything is falling at the same rate and is in a weightless state, so the air is of equal density everywhere on board the spacecraft.’
    • ‘Even with his results on free fall he was much more interested in proving geometrical theorems than in their relation to the real world.’
    • ‘One of the most important factors in the snake's midair shift from free fall to glide is a dramatic increase in the width of the animal's body.’
    • ‘Some experienced foreign jumpers displayed hand-in-hand group jumping, wingsuit jumping and somersaults during free fall; all the risky stunts thrilled the audience.’
    • ‘For instance, the law of free fall is affirmed to hold only for motion in a vacuum, and Boyle's Law is affirmed to hold only for changes at constant temperature.’
    • ‘The total energy output, or luminosity indicated by the spectrum, however, was too bright to be powered by gravity and the free fall of matter alone.’
    • ‘They are also provided training in military free fall parachuting, forward air control techniques, air traffic control, and other pathfinder related skills.’
    • ‘He deployed the parachute straight away, jolting him out of free fall.’
    • ‘And so is the possibility that profit margins will disappear if, say, a company's customers plan to pay in euros, whose value has dropped faster than an elevator in free fall.’
    1. 1.1A rapid decline that cannot be stopped.
      ‘her career seemed about to go into free fall’
      • ‘In the aftermath of the Games, the Australian dollar has suffered a free-fall, plunging to record lows against the US dollar and most other currencies.’
      • ‘They have suffered in image ever since the market free fall of the late 80s/early 90s and suffered financially since the dot-coms that filled the fiscal void also fell off the map.’
      • ‘As I have asked the House before, how long would it take for the economy of New Zealand to go into free fall if we had foot-and-mouth come into this country?’
      • ‘Now, with print circulation in free fall, publishers have got to serve ads and collect revenue from somewhere.’
      • ‘I am only too aware of the potential catastrophe if the stock market were allowed to go into free fall.’
      • ‘Manufacturing fell gradually, until the decline went into free fall with the recession of 2001.’
      • ‘At this point anyone taking a dispassionate view of what has been going on since the markets started to go into free fall early 2001 could be forgiven for detecting more than a hint of desperation in the analysis.’
      • ‘Let's hope the new major review on the dairy industry finds a solution or at least the means of stopping the free fall.’
      • ‘But government intervention won't stop this market if it goes into free fall.’
      • ‘That's why a plan devised at the height of a boom - to cull an oversized surplus - made equally great sense when the economy was in free-fall.’
      • ‘The problem is that when the financial plug is pulled, as the players fear might happen, clubs go into free fall.’
      • ‘So while student numbers are increasing, quality is falling, and morale is in free-fall.’
      • ‘But in the years that followed, his career went into free-fall.’
      • ‘Porsche's sales were in free fall, and losses threatened it with a looming liquidity crisis.’
      • ‘We will undoubtedly recall that just a decade ago, shares did go into free fall, and it did result in a recession of sorts.’
      • ‘But concerted buying of the currency will be inevitable should it go into free fall if the US recovery turns out to be less robust than projected.’
      • ‘I tossed and turned at night, worrying that I would never have the things I wanted (success, love, etc.) and generally feeling like my life was in free fall.’
      • ‘Its stock price in free fall, its market share under attack, its advertising turned to dreck, the greatest marketing machine in the world focused on the most inessential matter imaginable.’
      • ‘With the economy in free fall, those advantages can make all the difference.’
      • ‘The disintegration of communist governments throughout Europe and the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 caused the Cuban economy to go into free fall for a number of years.’
      • ‘A sluggish economy, a stock market free fall, and a government that can't balance its books is a potentially calamitous combination.’
    2. 1.2The movement of a spacecraft in space without thrust from the engines.
      • ‘By the way, a spacecraft orbiting Earth is in free fall as are all objects inside the craft.’
      • ‘Stability during the free fall is a problem, particularly during the high acceleration phases of entry into denser atmosphere.’
      • ‘It is true, as you say, that the clock, like the astronauts, is in free fall and we often call that state ‘microgravity’ or zero gravity.’
      • ‘The aeroplane is steered in such a way that the wings deliver no lift at all, so it is in a state of free fall.’
      • ‘Prior to the final touch down, the spacecraft shuts down the propulsion engine and enters into a free fall descent.’
      • ‘It is not caused by the fact that the shuttle is so far from the Earth; it is produced because the space shuttle is in free fall under the influence of gravity.’
      • ‘The International Space Station is also in free fall toward Earth.’
      • ‘Cassini-Huygens is in free fall towards Saturn, which means that it is accelerating continuously.’
      • ‘I must say I was having fearful thoughts for my crew's hearts if we were forced to spend many more months in free fall.’


  • Move under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly.

    ‘I was free-falling and was quickly 1,000 ft below him’
    • ‘I free-fell for about four seconds, then reached back, grabbed my pilot chute and tossed it out.’
    • ‘Within a week a dozen scientific teams will be aboard it as it thrusts skyward, then free-falls - and in so doing briefly cancels out the effect of gravity.’
    • ‘Guests shoot from 0-128 mph in 3.5 seconds along a horizontal track, then 456 ft up a vertical rail, before free-falling towards ground through a 270-degree corkscrew.’
    • ‘It has been shown that a 100-micron droplet requires a little over 5 seconds to free-fall 5 feet if no evaporation occurs.’
    • ‘Sage, unlike Ash, did not enjoy free-falling in the least.’
    • ‘Boulders slid and rolled down the slope, and eventually free-fell onto the talus slopes below.’
    • ‘And it is said some sportsmen, to show their skill in free-falling, open their parachutes as late as possible.’
    • ‘With the bar held tight to my chest, I free-fell for what seemed to be an eternity, then tension in my hang strap slowly returned and the glider leveled out.’
    • ‘But some of the scenes - like one of an astronaut free-falling from the space station - really brought home the peril of the job.’
    • ‘But the distress caused by my dull outfit was short-lived as I grew confident that my appearance would not be my main concern when I was free-falling at 180 miles per hour.’
    • ‘In the case of the free-falling body, the two kinds of energy we are concerned with are kinetic energy and potential energy.’
    • ‘In 1997, five skydivers on a tourist flight from Auckland jumped from a plane, hoping to free-fall to Antarctica.’
    • ‘The next second, she was seemingly free-falling through the gray sky, clenching her teeth to avoid screaming as she descended at high speed.’
    • ‘Today's generation is picking up on snow boarding, sand surfing, mountain biking, para-gliding, free-falling, base jumping and even the somewhat bizarre extreme ironing.’
    • ‘After free-falling for more than four and a half minutes, he felt himself slowed by the friction of a gradually thickening atmosphere.’
    • ‘On his 94th birthday, he leapt out of an airplane strapped to a skydiving instructor and free-fell for a mile.’


free fall