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 ?
However, an object in free fall has no weight, and its speed depends only on gravitational acceleration, not on mass (except for the small effect of air resistance) (5).
For his part, Enrico Giusti lets Galileo's disciples fill in the undocumented steps of Galileo's evolution and argues that Galileo had two theories of free fall.
Figure 12 shows the fringe trace that results when one mirror of a Michelson-type interferometer is allowed to free fall.
Jumping with a ruck attached is just the beginning of the special instruction military free fall school teaches.
He dances like a soul in free fall, furiously moving his limbs to express sadness, shame, and ecstasy.
Free fall tests performed in a mine shaft require extra safety precautions to minimize the potential damage to the mine hoist cables, steelwork, the cage and the shaft itself.
HOUSTON -- The Planet, the world's largest privately held dedicated hosting company, today announced Free Fall Savings for all new server orders.
The end result is a free fall that allows a diver to safely experience the feeling of a base jump without having to deploy a canopy.
The ceremony included several activities and various military shows, besides free-fall shows for the RAFO Free Fall team.
Pal also rubbished Modi for blaming the Congress for the present economic crisis and said that the BJP is responsible for the rupee's free fall.
He said: "The free fall felt like an eternity of acceleration.
WASHINGTON -- Crude-oil futures briefly dipped below $60 a barrel Monday, then jumped by more than $1 in a sign that the recent free fall might be nearing an end.
Beau Godfrey, quintessential free fall in San Jose.
And in her free fall through four interconnected and highly charged dances presented at the Ohio Theater, the most affecting moments were her solos, Baby Tomb and Empty Tomb.
That's because scientists had previously arranged for the probe to send a truncated version of the data collected during its 70-minute Jovian free fall to the parent craft's computer.