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free fall

the hypothetical fall of a body such that the only force acting upon it is that of gravity.
the part of a parachute jump that precedes the opening of the parachute.
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 of free fall


[free-fawl] /ˈfriˌfɔl/
verb (used without object), free-fell, free-fallen, free-falling.
(of parachutists) to descend initially, as for a designated interval, in a free fall:
The jumpers were required to free-fall for eight seconds.
denoting or suggesting a free fall:
a free-fall recession.
free fall (def 1, 2). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for free-fall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He knew there would be fifty seconds of free-fall before the rockets fired again.

    Pushbutton War Joseph P. Martino
  • All this, with some oil painting and free-fall workouts in the gym, passed the time.

    The Repairman Harry Harrison
  • There was a moment of free-fall, then the drive engine came on and the grav-field equilibrated.

    The Dueling Machine Benjamin William Bova
  • From the looks of Cadet Astro, free-fall wrestling should be child's play for him!

    Stand by for Mars! Carey Rockwell
  • That broke me from free-fall around Earth to gravity-fall toward Earth.

    Shipwreck in the Sky Eando Binder
  • Tom couldn't even go into free-fall for ten minutes without getting sick all over the place.

    Gold in the Sky Alan Edward Nourse
  • I managed to get the gravity turned off and gave them a lesson in free-fall fighting.

    Danger in Deep Space Carey Rockwell
British Dictionary definitions for free-fall

free fall

free descent of a body in which the gravitational force is the only force acting on it
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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