free fall

/ˌfri ˈfɔl/

Other forms: free falls

Free fall is when something falls only under gravity's force, the way a skydiver is in free fall until her parachute opens and slows her descent.

Anything that plummets to the ground, pulled there by the force of gravity, is in free fall. Your little brother jumping from the high dive is in free fall until he hits the pool water. A figurative way to use free fall is to mean "declining sharply," as when reporters talk about the plummeting stock market being in free fall, for example. The term first appeared in 1919, describing parachutists and rockets.

Definitions of free fall
  1. noun
    the ideal falling motion of something subject only to a gravitational field
    see moresee less
    type of:
    drop, fall
    a free and rapid descent by the force of gravity
  2. noun
    a sudden sharp decrease in some quantity
    synonyms: dip, drop, fall
    see moresee less
    a drop in stock market activity or stock prices following a period of increases
    voltage drop
    a decrease in voltage along a conductor through which current is flowing
    type of:
    decrease, decrement
    the amount by which something decreases
Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

A paragraph of text

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘free fall'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up free fall for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer