Definition of centrifugal in US English:



  • Moving or tending to move away from a center.

    The opposite of centripetal
    • ‘Einstein warmed to the idea that the gravitational field of the rest of the Universe might explain centrifugal and other inertial forces resulting from acceleration.’
    • ‘In this schema, circulation was entirely centrifugal: blood moved only outward from the heart and liver to the various parts of the body, where it was consumed for nourishment.’
    • ‘Each work contains a small riot of biomorphic form seeking a balance between exaggerated centrifugal and centripetal pressures.’
    • ‘Magnesium powder is also produced by gas jet or centrifugal disintegration of molten metal.’
    • ‘That produced a small centrifugal displacement of the beam indicative of its velocity distribution as imaged by faint deposits of silver.’


Early 18th century: from modern Latin centrifugus, from Latin centrum (see center) + -fugus ‘fleeing’ (from fugere ‘flee’).