Share this entry

Share this page

pendulum

Syllabification: pen·du·lum
Pronunciation: /ˈpenjələm
 
/

Definition of pendulum in English:

noun

1A weight hung from a fixed point so that it can swing freely backward and forward, especially a rod with a weight at the end that regulates the mechanism of a clock.
Example sentences
  • If I then release the weight the pendulum begins to swing.
  • The early pendulum clocks had short pendulums.
  • Until the 1920s, the most accurate timepieces depended on the regular swing of a pendulum.
1.1Used to refer to the tendency of a situation to oscillate between one extreme and another: the pendulum of fashion
More example sentences
  • Sometimes the pendulum is at one extreme or another as the result of the push of forces for change.
  • You can see how the pendulum between these two extremes has swung by looking at e-mail.
  • Although he wrongly concluded that the periods of oscillation of two pendulums were in the same ratio as their lengths, he later corrected the error.

Origin

mid 17th century: from Latin, neuter (used as a noun) of pendulus 'hanging down'.

Derivatives

pendular

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • A third pattern of contractions, called pendular movements, manifests itself as swaying motions seen in isolated loops of intestine, probably reflecting rhythmic contractions confined to the longitudinal layer of muscle.
  • My feeling is that the moment of inertia and pendular stability is sufficient to retard the pitch change from a single surface deflection.
  • Most west European tower bells are chimed at their natural pendular speed; small bells, therefore, sound in faster succession than large bells.

Words that rhyme with pendulum

coagulumspeculum

Definition of pendulum in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rɪˈzɪlɪənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…