Definition of free fall in US English:

free fall


  • 1Downward movement under the force of gravity only.

    ‘the path of a body in free fall’
    • ‘Some experienced foreign jumpers displayed hand-in-hand group jumping, wingsuit jumping and somersaults during free fall; all the risky stunts thrilled the audience.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are also provided training in military free fall parachuting, forward air control techniques, air traffic control, and other pathfinder related skills.’
    • ‘How long the actual jump lasts: About one minute in free fall and another five minutes in the parachute.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 was given the impression of a man in free fall descending like a fallen angel into the unforgiving landscape below.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That includes parachuting - both static line and free fall, scuba diving, land navigation, vehicle and boat.’
    • ‘Most people at that time believed that the speed of a body in free fall was proportional to the distance it had fallen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each of the stones whose trajectory Newton illustrated was in free fall toward Earth.’
    • ‘The contents of the plane are effectively in free-fall, creating weightlessness for all those on-board… and nausea!’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘I can't think of any other film which understands that outside a gravity well, all objects are in free fall.’
    • ‘He deployed the parachute straight away, jolting him out of free fall.’
    1. 1.1 The movement of a spacecraft in space without thrust from the engines.
      • ‘Prior to the final touch down, the spacecraft shuts down the propulsion engine and enters into a free fall descent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Stability during the free fall is a problem, particularly during the high acceleration phases of entry into denser atmosphere.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cassini-Huygens is in free fall towards Saturn, which means that it is accelerating continuously.’
      • ‘The International Space Station is also in free fall toward Earth.’
      • ‘By the way, a spacecraft orbiting Earth is in free fall as are all objects inside the craft.’
      • ‘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.’


[no object]
  • Move under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly.

    • ‘And it is said some sportsmen, to show their skill in free-falling, open their parachutes as late as possible.’
    • ‘In 1997, five skydivers on a tourist flight from Auckland jumped from a plane, hoping to free-fall to Antarctica.’
    • ‘After free-falling for more than four and a half minutes, he felt himself slowed by the friction of a gradually thickening atmosphere.’
    • ‘In the case of the free-falling body, the two kinds of energy we are concerned with are kinetic energy and potential energy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Boulders slid and rolled down the slope, and eventually free-fell onto the talus slopes below.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The next second, she was seemingly free-falling through the gray sky, clenching her teeth to avoid screaming as she descended at high speed.’
    • ‘It has been shown that a 100-micron droplet requires a little over 5 seconds to free-fall 5 feet if no evaporation occurs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I free-fell for about four seconds, then reached back, grabbed my pilot chute and tossed it out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On his 94th birthday, he leapt out of an airplane strapped to a skydiving instructor and free-fell for a mile.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sage, unlike Ash, did not enjoy free-falling in the least.’


free fall

/ˈfrē ˌfôl//ˈfri ˌfɔl/