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terminal velocity

noun
1.
Physics.
  1. the velocity at which a falling body moves through a medium, as air, when the force of resistance of the medium is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the force of gravity.
  2. the maximum velocity of a body falling through a viscous fluid.
2.
Rocketry, Ballistics.
  1. the greatest speed that a rocket, missile, etc., attains after burnout or after leaving the barrel of a gun.
  2. the speed of a missile or projectile on impact with its target.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for terminal-velocity

terminal velocity

noun
1.
the constant maximum velocity reached by a body falling under gravity through a fluid, esp the atmosphere
2.
the velocity of a missile or projectile when it reaches its target
3.
the maximum velocity attained by a rocket, missile, or shell flying in a parabolic flight path
4.
the maximum velocity that an aircraft can attain, as determined by its total drag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for terminal-velocity

terminal velocity

steady speed achieved by an object freely falling through a gas or liquid. A typical terminal velocity for a parachutist who delays opening the chute is about 150 miles (240 kilometres) per hour. Raindrops fall at a much lower terminal velocity, and a mist of tiny oil droplets settles at an exceedingly small terminal velocity. An object dropped from rest will increase its speed until it reaches terminal velocity; an object forced to move faster than its terminal velocity will, upon release, slow down to this constant velocity.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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