free fall n.

a condition of weightlessness

In technical use denoting the motion of an object under the unconstrained influence of a gravitational field (1851 in OED).


  • 1931 J. W. Campbell Islands of Space in Amazing Stories Quarterly Spring 167/1 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    Since they were to use the space control, though, they would be subject to infinite acceleration, it would be a free fall, and Fuller would remain helplessly weightless.

  • 1950 R. A. Heinlein Farmer in Sky (1975) viii. 83 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    While cruising in free fall according to plan, the ship was breached by a small meteorite.

  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Starman Jones (1975) xiii. 143 Robert A. Heinlein

    The ship will be in free fall for thirty seconds.

  • 1972 J. Blish Star Trek 8 138 James Blish

    Instead of rising, the elevator sank. Decks flashed by to a whining sound. β€˜Free fall!’ Kirk yelled.

  • 1981 R. L. Forward & H.P. Moravec High Wire Act in Omni July 45 page image Robert L. Forward Hans Moravec bibliography

    Those moments of free fall before the cable catches you for the real trip to space are nerve-racking.

  • 1983 B. Sterling & W. Gibson Red Star, Winter Orbit in B. Sterling Mirrorshades (1986) 204 William Gibson Bruce Sterling

    She kissed his cheek, wobbling in freefall.

  • 1984 W. Gibson Neuromancer (1989) iii.viii. 103 William Gibson

    Molly and a skinny Zionite called Aerol helped Case negotiate a freefall corridor into the core of a smaller torus.

  • 1990 R. L. Forward Rocheworld 6 Robert L. Forward

    Their commander swam in free-fall among them.

  • 1991 L. Niven, J. Pournelle, & M. Flynn Fallen Angels 9 Larry Niven Michael F. Flynn Jerry Pournelle bibliography

    Gordon had been born in free fall and thrust was new to him.

  • 1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep i. i. 9 Vernor Vinge bibliography

    Dad cut the jet, and they were in free fall again.

  • 1992 H. Collins Mutagenesis 13

    β€˜Kyly is a turd!’ Rol Addle shouted, pushing himself into the cabin. In spite of freefall, in spite of his obvious youth and strength, he was struggling, panting.

  • 2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora's Star xx. 639 Peter F. Hamilton

    So now he was enduring the physical and unfortunately biological discomforts of prolonged freefall once again.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

J. W. Campbell, Jr.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.