1. moving or directed outward from the center (opposed to centripetal).
  2. pertaining to or operated by centrifugal force: a centrifugal pump.
  3. Physiology. efferent.


  1. Machinery.
    1. a machine for separating different materials by centrifugal force; a centrifuge.
    2. a rotating, perforated drum holding the materials to be separated in such a machine.


  1. acting, moving, or tending to move away from a centreCompare centripetal
  2. of, concerned with, or operated by centrifugal forcecentrifugal pump
  3. botany (esp of certain inflorescences) developing outwards from a centre
  4. physiol another word for efferent


  1. any device that uses centrifugal force for its action
  2. the rotating perforated drum in a centrifuge

1690s, with adjectival suffix -al (1) + Modern Latin centrifugus, 1687, coined by Sir Isaac Newton (who wrote in Latin) in “Principia” (which is written in Latin), from Latin centri- alternative comb. form of centrum “center” (see center (n.)) + fugere “to flee” (see fugitive). Centrifugal force is Newton’s vis centrifuga.


  1. Moving or directed away from a center or axis.
  2. Transmitting nerve impulses away from the central nervous system; efferent.

  1. Moving or directed away from a center or axis, usually as a result of being spun around the center or axis.
  2. Operated in the manner of a centrifuge.
  3. Transmitting nerve impulses away from the brain or spinal cord; efferent.
  4. Developing or progressing outward from a center or axis, as in the growth of plant structures. For example, in a centrifugal inflorescence such as a cyme, the flowers in the center or tip open first while those on the edge open last. Compare centripetal.

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