Definition of metacenter in US English:


(British metacentre)


  • The point of intersection between a vertical line through the center of buoyancy of a floating body such as a ship and a vertical line through the new center of buoyancy when the body is tilted, which must be above the center of gravity to ensure stability.

    • ‘This distance is termed a radius because for small heel angles, the locus of successive centers of buoyancy approximates a circular arc, with the transverse metacenter as its center.’
    • ‘And, if the metacenter should fall below the ship's center of gravity, it'll capsize.’
    • ‘When a submarine submerges, however, the water plane disappears and the metacenter comes down to the center of buoyancy.’
    • ‘Even in hydrostatics he soon leaves the narrow way of pure physics to wallow in the mire of stowage of cargo, metacentres and their uses, water flow, and its application to water supply and such like vulgarities.’
    • ‘If the box floats under a list, the metacentre point M moves upward to a point N, where N is called the false metacentre.’
    • ‘This introductory course in hydrostatics of ships covers buoyancy, weights, metacenters and stability at small and large angles of heel and trim.’
    • ‘The location of the transverse metacentre M will vary with the ship's displacement and draft.’
    • ‘If the metacenter is below the center of gravity, the boat is unstable and capsizes.’
    • ‘Unless there is a dramatic change in the ship's shape at the waterline, the center of gravity remains in place and the new and old transverse metacenters cross at this point.’
    • ‘The metacentric height can be selectively varied by varying the relationship of center of gravity to that of the dipole mass system with respect to the metacenter of the gravity gradiometer.’
    • ‘Also curve joining the tangents of each line of thrust, drawn relative to the vessel, is known as the curve of metacentres.’
    • ‘Mr Wong was more interested in the cat outside the window than our overturning ships with high metacentres.’


Late 18th century: from French métacentre (see meta-, center).