free fall

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free fall

1. A vertical descent of a physical body in which gravity is the only force acting upon it. If they were in true free fall, a feather and a bowling ball would both fall to the ground at the same rate.
2. In a parachute jump, the period of vertical descent leading up to and immediately before the parachute is opened. I get such a rush from the free fall when I skydive that I often wish I didn't have to open my chute at all!
3. By extension of def. 1, any sudden, rapid, and uncontrollable decline (e.g., in value, reputation, success, etc.) that continues unabated for an indefinite length of time. The stock market went into a free fall after the housing market collapsed. After getting busted by the police for using marijuana last year, John's life has been in a free fall.
See also: fall, free

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]
See also: fall, free
References in periodicals archive ?
Sponsored by Skydive Dubai, the event will be held between April 13 and 19, allowing professional athletes and a select group of invitees to experience the free-fall lasting over 10 seconds.
With an average age of 33 and an average number of free-fall jumps at 560, the team represents the professionalism and dedication of Army special operations forces.
In any event, today's extraordinarily simple free-fall methods for measuring little g are schematically shown in Fig.
Their ability to train and conduct accelerated free-fall (AFF) with these students is incredible.
I was scared of heights and flying but this job allows you to get out more and free-fall is really different.
Familiar items like the Sidewinder, Shrike and Tomahawk missiles appear alongside weapon systems that can be seen nowhere else, such as Agile, an advanced, short-range air-to-air missile; Bulldog, the first successful laser-guided missile; and the Advanced Bomb Family of developmental free-fall weapons.
There will also be a representative display of their range of magnetic separators for the removal of fine iron contamination, in wet or dry processes, including a magnetic plate, magnetic trap and magnetic grate - the latter being positioned within a transparent hopper and attached to a free-fall metal separator, as well as the Megastrength rare earth tube magnet.
Paul Carberry and Ruby Walsh are organising a jump jockeys' free-fall in Ireland.
The jump was part of a ten-day demonstration of large free-fall formations above the southern Thai resort town of Cha-am.
No longer does it whirl in the sick delirium of free-fall.
installed a new, 55-foot free-fall test tower at its conveyance repair shop to replace an existing smaller test tower at another location.
Emerging markets currencies have been the victims of a stronger US dollar, free-fall in crude oil and commodities markets, monetary mismanagement, geopolitical risks and the decline in Chinese economic growth.
A free-fall show was performed by the RGO Free-Fall team on the sidelines of the ceremony.
That said, when Barbour's still-idealistic Lewis goes into free-fall mode, you believe his travel comrade feels the pain.
TOP amateur riders Pauline Robson and Val Jackson will take part in a free-fall parachute jump in aid of the Injured Jockeys' Fund on Saturday week.