Definition of inertial in English:


Line breaks: in¦er|tial
Pronunciation: /ɪˈnəːʃ(ə)l


chiefly Physics
  • 1Relating to or arising from inertia: high-speed centrifuges generate large inertial forces the inertial load on the motor
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    • Another way of understanding the situation is to remember the equivalence Einstein explained between gravitational and inertial forces.
    • The interesting thing is that, physically, no difference has been found between gravitational and inertial mass.
    • Einstein warmed to the idea that the gravitational field of the rest of the Universe might explain centrifugal and other inertial forces resulting from acceleration.
  • 1.1(Of navigation or guidance) depending on internal instruments which measure a craft’s acceleration and compare the calculated position with stored data.
    More example sentences
    • Inside is a guidance control unit with inertial navigation and global positioning systems.
    • A rocket's inertial guidance system measures acceleration along three principal directions.
    • The missile has new GPS / INS (global positioning / inertial navigation) guidance and kinetic warhead.
  • 1.2(Of a frame of reference) in which bodies continue at rest or in uniform straight motion unless acted on by a force: the laws of physics take the same form in all inertial frames
    More example sentences
    • Simple laws apply to constant motion in a straight line (an inertial frame of reference).
    • A reference frame in which star motion is ignored and the stars are assumed to be at rest is approximately an inertial reference frame and is often adequate for many purposes.
    • The rest-mass of a body is the inertial mass of that body when it is at rest relative to an inertial frame.

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