9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[sen-trif-yuh-guh l, -uh-guh l] /sɛnˈtrɪf yə gəl, -ə gəl/
moving or directed outward from the center (opposed to centripetal).
pertaining to or operated by centrifugal force:
a centrifugal pump.
Physiology, efferent.
  1. a machine for separating different materials by centrifugal force; centrifuge.
  2. a rotating, perforated drum holding the materials to be separated in such a machine.
Origin of centrifugal
1715-25; < New Latin centrifug(us) center-fleeing (centri- centri- + Latin -fugus, derivative of fugere to flee) + -al1
Related forms
centrifugally, adverb
Can be confused
centrifugal, centripetal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for centrifugal
  • Its primary products include centrifugal pumps and reciprocating pumps.
  • Her whole fictional project is a dream song of second-guessing in centrifugal time.
  • Of the two, centrifugal is the more needed but also more likely to be used incorrectly.
  • These bindings produce locally bound structures that can easily resist local centrifugal effects.
  • Much of the use of space was symmetrical and centrifugal.
  • For some, the disappearance of this centrifugal core heralds a future rich with promise.
  • centrifugal pumps are commonly used to move liquids through a piping system.
British Dictionary definitions for centrifugal


/sɛnˈtrɪfjʊɡəl; ˈsɛntrɪˌfjuːɡəl/
acting, moving, or tending to move away from a centre Compare centripetal
of, concerned with, or operated by centrifugal force: centrifugal pump
(botany) (esp of certain inflorescences) developing outwards from a centre
(physiol) another word for efferent
any device that uses centrifugal force for its action
the rotating perforated drum in a centrifuge
Derived Forms
centrifugally, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin centrifugus, from centri- + Latin fugere to flee
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for centrifugal

1690s, with adjectival suffix -al (1) + Modern Latin centrifugus, 1687, coined by Sir Isaac Newton (who wrote in Latin) in "Principia" (which is written in Latin), from Latin centri- alternative comb. form of centrum "center" (see center (n.)) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive). Centrifugal force is Newton's vis centrifuga.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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centrifugal in Medicine

centrifugal cen·trif·u·gal (sěn-trĭf'yə-gəl, -trĭf'ə-)

  1. Moving or directed away from a center or axis.

  2. Transmitting nerve impulses away from the central nervous system; efferent.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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centrifugal in Science
  (sěn-trĭf'yə-gəl, -trĭf'ə-)   
  1. Moving or directed away from a center or axis, usually as a result of being spun around the center or axis.

  2. Operated in the manner of a centrifuge.

  3. Transmitting nerve impulses away from the brain or spinal cord; efferent.

  4. Developing or progressing outward from a center or axis, as in the growth of plant structures. For example, in a centrifugal inflorescence such as a cyme, the flowers in the center or tip open first while those on the edge open last. Compare centripetal.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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