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16th century, learned borrowing from Latin gravitās (weight) (compare French gravité), from gravis (heavy). Doublet of gravitas.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɹævɪti/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: grav‧i‧ty
  • Rhymes: -ævɪti


gravity (countable and uncountable, plural gravities)

  1. The state or condition of having weight; weight; heaviness.
  2. The state or condition of being grave; seriousness.
    I hope you appreciate the gravity of the situation.
    • 1947 March 12, Truman, Harry S., MP72-14 Excerpt - Truman Doctrine Speech[1], Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives Identifier: 595162, 1:05 from the start:
      The gravity of the situation which confronts the world today necessitates my appearance before a joint session of the Congress. The foreign policy and the national security of this country are involved.
    • 1990 E.E.O.C. v. University of Detroit, 904 F.2d 331
      Since I believe that abortion is absolutely wrong I must choose the course that minimizes the support of it. The gravity of this issue is so great that I must consider my job expendable.
  3. (music) The lowness of a note.
  4. (physics) Force on Earth's surface, of the attraction by the Earth's masses, and the centrifugal pseudo-force caused by the Earth's rotation, resulting from gravitation.
    • 2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 36:
      It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in [the] basket [of a balloon]: perhaps out of a desire to escape the gravity of this world or to get a preview of the next; […].
  5. (in casual discussion, also) Gravitation, universal force exercised by two bodies onto each other (gravity and gravitation are often used interchangeably).
    • 2012 January 1, Michael Riordan, “Tackling Infinity”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 86:
      Some of the most beautiful and thus appealing physical theories, including quantum electrodynamics and quantum gravity, have been dogged for decades by infinities that erupt when theorists try to prod their calculations into new domains. Getting rid of these nagging infinities has probably occupied far more effort than was spent in originating the theories.
  6. (physics) Specific gravity.


Derived terms[edit]


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