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momentum

[moh-men-tuh m] /moʊˈmɛn təm/
noun, plural momenta
[moh-men-tuh] /moʊˈmɛn tə/ (Show IPA),
momentums.
1.
force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events:
The car gained momentum going downhill. Her career lost momentum after two unsuccessful films.
2.
Also called linear momentum. Mechanics. a quantity expressing the motion of a body or system, equal to the product of the mass of a body and its velocity, and for a system equal to the vector sum of the products of mass and velocity of each particle in the system.
3.
Philosophy, moment (def 7).
Origin
1690-1700
1690-1700; < Latin mōmentum; see moment
Can be confused
memento, momentum.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for momenta

momentum

/məʊˈmɛntəm/
noun (pl) -ta (-tə), -tums
1.
(physics) the product of a body's mass and its velocity p See also angular momentum
2.
the impetus of a body resulting from its motion
3.
driving power or strength
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: movement; see moment
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 momenta

momentum

n.

1690s, scientific use in mechanics, "quantity of motion of a moving body," from Latin momentum "movement, moving power" (see moment). Figurative use dates from 1782.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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momenta in Science
momentum
  (mō-měn'təm)   
Plural momenta or momentums
A vector quantity that expresses the relation of the velocity of a body, wave, field, or other physical system, to its energy. The direction of the momentum of a single object indicates the direction of its motion. Momentum is a conserved quantity (it remains constant unless acted upon by an outside force), and is related by Noether's theorem to translational invariance. In classical mechanics, momentum is defined as mass times velocity. The theory of Special Relativity uses the concept of relativistic mass. The momentum of photons, which are massless, is equal to their energy divided by the speed of light. In quantum mechanics, momentum more generally refers to a mathematical operator applied to the wave equation describing a physical system and corresponding to an observable; solutions to the equation using this operator provide the vector quantity traditionally called momentum. In all of these applications, momentum is sometimes called linear momentum. See also angular momentum, impulse.

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

momentum definition


In physics, the property or tendency of a moving object to continue moving. For an object moving in a line, the momentum is the mass of the object multiplied by its velocity (linear momentum); thus, a slowly moving, very massive body and a rapidly moving, light body can have the same momentum. (See Newton's laws of motion.)

Note: Figuratively, momentum can refer to the tendency of a person or group to repeat recent success: “The Bears definitely have momentum after scoring those last two touchdowns.”
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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Encyclopedia Article for momenta

momentum

product of the mass of a particle and its velocity. Momentum is a vector quantity; i.e., it has both magnitude and direction. Isaac Newton's second law of motion states that the time rate of change of momentum is equal to the force acting on the particle. See Newton's laws of motion.

Learn more about momentum with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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