Meaning of inertial in English:


Pronunciation /ɪˈnəːʃ(ə)l/


  • 1Physics
    Relating to or arising from inertia.

    ‘high-speed centrifuges generate large inertial forces’
    • ‘the inertial load on the motor’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If its axis were to be suddenly shifted from its normal inclination, inertial forces produced in such a change would literally tear the earth apart.’
    • ‘In Newton's theory, all three of these masses - the inertial mass, the active and passive gravitational masses - are equivalent.’
    1. 1.1(of navigation or guidance) depending on internal instruments which measure a craft's acceleration and compare the calculated position with stored data.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘The aircraft's navigation system includes an integrated inertial navigation and global positioning INS / GPS system.’
      • ‘The aircraft uses a Honeywell inertial navigation system.’
    2. 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Photons, according to the special theory of relativity, move in vacuum with the same speed in all inertial frames of reference.’
      • ‘Mach had stated a principle that local inertial frames of reference were determined by the large scale distribution of mass in the universe.’