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pendulum

[pen-juh-luh m, pen-duh-] /ˈpɛn dʒə ləm, ˈpɛn də-/
noun
1.
a body so suspended from a fixed point as to move to and fro by the action of gravity and acquired momentum.
2.
Horology. a swinging lever, weighted at the lower end, for regulating the speed of a clock mechanism.
3.
something that tends to move from one position, condition, etc., to the opposite extreme and then back again:
In a democratic society, the pendulum of political thought swings left and right.
Origin
1650-1660
1650-60; < New Latin, noun use of neuter of Latin pendulus pendulous
Related forms
pendulumlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for pendulum
  • He believes the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.
  • Even the humble pendulum may spring a surprise on you.
  • Even the simple motion of a pendulum is easier to examine by it s amplitude and energy in place of time.
  • One point touching the ground, the inverse pendulum in motion.
  • The pendulum of style swings back and forth between excess and minimalism.
  • Grandfather clock: tall pendulum clock that stands on the floor.
  • First, you drilled holes in the sides of the pendulum casing of your grandfather clock.
  • The pendulum has swung for several reasons, the lawyer argued.
  • He had discovered the law of free fall, and the law of the pendulum.
  • Indeed, a swing of the pendulum seems to be under way.
British Dictionary definitions for pendulum

pendulum

/ˈpɛndjʊləm/
noun
1.
a body mounted so that it can swing freely under the influence of gravity. It is either a bob hung on a light thread (simple pendulum) or a more complex structure (compound pendulum)
2.
such a device used to regulate a clockwork mechanism
3.
something that changes its position, attitude, etc fairly regularly: the pendulum of public opinion
Word Origin
C17: from Latin penduluspendulous
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 pendulum
n.

1660, from Modern Latin pendulum (1643), noun use of neuter of Latin adjective pendulus "hanging down," from pendere "to hang" (see pendant). The Modern Latin word is perhaps a Latinization of Italian pendolo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pendulum in Science
pendulum
  (pěn'jə-ləm)   
A mass hung from a fixed support so that it is able to swing freely under the influence of gravity. Since the motion of pendulums is regular and periodic, they are often used to regulate the action of various devices, especially clocks.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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