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 ?
The wider the orbit, the more sensitive it reacts to a violation of the universality of free fall. If the pulsar feels a different acceleration towards dark matter than the white dwarf companion, one should see a deformation of the binary orbit over time, i.e.
The participants were asked to imagine the free fall of objects differing in mass and height of release, and were asked to rate their imagined speed at the end of the fall.
And while Baumgartner hopes to set four new world records when he jumps, his free fall is more than just a stunt.
Lacie's Rugged Key, in its iconic orange casing, is capable of a good 100m free fall, is resistant against water, can function comfortably in extreme weather conditions, and packs in AES-256 encryption.
Still, he hopes to become the first person to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft; to break the record for free fall from the highest altitude; to break the record for the longest free fall time, expected to be 5 minutes, 35 seconds; and break the record for the highest manned balloon flight.
Upon exiting the plane, he uses his arms to position himself above the team to film the formation as the divers free fall.
All three devices -- LIS331DLH, LIS331DLM and LIS331DLF -- integrate a host of smart embedded features, including low-power mode, auto wake-up function, free fall motion and 6D-orientation detection as well as a standard SPI/I2C digital interface.
The sensor works by detecting any changes in acceleration equal to the force of gravity, then parking the head off the disc to prevent contact with the platter in a free fall of as little as eight inches.
Created by three-time Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner, Free Fall is a Caldecott Honor picturebook that tells its story entirely through colorful, wordless, full-page and two-page spread illustrations.
* Velocity final = initial velocity (zero for us) + (free fall [9.8 m/sec] squared) x time (sec)
The drive also features Free Fall Sensor technology, which utilises an embedded optional motion sensor to detect if the drive is in free fall.
Although it's hard to remember now, Boston public schools were in free fall a decade ago, with a dysfunctional school committee, a series of short-term superintendents, and a rudderless education program.
Our PG-300 pump is utilized in gravity pouring lines where you can have minimal free fall of the molten metal into your molds.
At one end of the reception spectrum, Rene Descartes was a cursory reader of Galileo who doubted the empirical validity of the odd-numbers-law of free fall. Sometimes Galileo himself had downplayed empirical tests before mathematical argumentation.
area firms, but with the economy in a free fall, he needed a competitive edge to make his endeavor a success.