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free fall

noun
1.
the hypothetical fall of a body such that the only force acting upon it is that of gravity.
2.
the part of a parachute jump that precedes the opening of the parachute.
3.
a decline, especially a sudden or rapid decline, as in value or prestige, that appears to be endless or bottomless:
The economy was in a free fall all winter.
Also, free-fall (for defs 1, 2).
Origin
1915-1920
1915-20

free-fall

[free-fawl] /ˈfriˌfɔl/
verb (used without object), free-fell, free-fallen, free-falling.
1.
(of parachutists) to descend initially, as for a designated interval, in a free fall:
The jumpers were required to free-fall for eight seconds.
adjective
2.
denoting or suggesting a free fall:
a free-fall recession.
noun
3.
free fall (defs 1, 2).
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for free fall
  • Then it can free fall until it reaches terminal velocity where the air resistance matches the pull of gravity.
  • And now planets are even being found in free fall within our galaxy.
  • Being in free fall, however, the astronaut is not crushed by this acceleration.
  • What followed was a kind of free fall into what sociologists call social disorganization.
  • Instead of the unrelenting anxiety she expected as her income and credit rating went into a free fall, she felt relieved.
  • When the economy tanked, both went into a free fall.
  • Opposite shoes need not vacuum free fall identically.
  • Left and right shoes will not vacuum free fall identically.
  • Still, foreign production continued to surge, and the tariffs failed to stem the price free fall.
  • He had discovered the law of free fall, and the law of the pendulum.
British Dictionary definitions for free fall

free fall

noun
1.
free descent of a body in which the gravitational force is the only force acting on it
2.
the part of a parachute descent before the parachute opens
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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free fall in Culture

free fall definition


In physics, the motion of a body being acted upon only by gravity. A satellite in orbit is in free fall, as is a skydiver (if we neglect the effects of air resistance).

Note: During free fall, objects are said to be weightless.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for free fall

free fall

noun phrase

An extremely rapid and unhindered descent •First used of a rocket returning to earth; then mainly of a parachutist who had not yet opened the parachute: the bank is trying to slow the free fall of the Mexican peso/ the Russian economy is in free fall (1919+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with free fall

free fall

A rapid, uncontrolled decline, as in The markets threatened to go into free fall and we came close to outright panic. This term transfers the aeronautical meaning of a free fall, that is, “a fall through the air without any impedance, such as a parachute,” to other kinds of precipitous drop. [ Second half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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7
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