pendulum[pen′dyo̵̅o̅ ləm, -dyə-, -də-; -jo̵̅o̅-, -jə-]
- The definition of a pendulum is an object that has been mounted to a fixed point that swings freely back and forth under the influence of gravity, or the tendency of trends or situations to shift from one extreme to another.
- The weights fixed to a pivot point on the end of a chain in a grandfather clock that pivot back and forth to help regulate the clock mechanism is an example of a pendulum.
- When popular home furniture styles shift from modern to traditional and back again, this is an example of the pendulum of taste.
A pendulum in an old fashioned clock.
Origin of pendulumModern Latin ; from neuter of Classical Latin pendulus: see pendulous
- A body suspended from a fixed support so that it swings freely back and forth under the influence of gravity, commonly used to regulate various devices, especially clocks. Also called simple pendulum.
- Something that swings back and forth from one course, opinion, or condition to another: the pendulum of public opinion.
Origin of pendulumNew Latin, probably from Italian pendolo, pendulous, pendulum, from Latin pendulus, hanging; see pendulous.
(plural pendulums or pendula) (See usage notes.)
The plural form pendula is significantly rarer than pendulums; see etymology at pendula for details. However, pendula is occasionally used in physics.
- Foucault’s pendulum
Neuter of Latin pendulus, "hanging".