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gravity (grav´i-te)

The attraction toward the earth that makes any mass exert downward force or have weight. Strictly speaking, g. is the algebraic sum of the gravitational attraction of the earth and the opposing centrifugal effect of the mass's rotation around the earth; thus, g. equals gravitational attraction at the north and south poles but becomes progressively less as one approaches the equator. A satellite in a stable orbit has zero gravity because the centrifugal effect of orbital motion exactly balances the gravitational attraction of the earth. [L. gravitas]
specific g. (sp. gr.) the weight of any body compared with that of another body of equal volume regarded as the unit; usually the weight of a liquid compared with that of distilled water.
zero g. See zero gravity.


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