centrifugal » centrifical

Chiefly in:   centrifical force

Classification: English – questionable

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Power Your Golf Swing With Centrifical Force” ()

From Michael Quinion in e-mail, 28 November 2004: A question came up in the World Wide Words newsletter this weekend about the fictitious word “centrifical”. Would I be right to consider this an example of an “eggcorn”?


Maybe yes, maybe no. Looks like a reshaping of “centrifugal” so that it has a morphological analysis that makes more sense, or at least looks and sounds more familiar: centrif-ic-al. That would be a (subtle) eggcorning in derivational morphology.

See also “centripedal” (for “centripetal”).

Not in MWDEU or Brians’s list, but Quinion noted in e-mail on 29 November:


It is very common. In my reply to the questioner I said:

Google turned up 3000 examples. A newspaper search found hundreds of others, the oldest being from the Manitoba Daily Free Press of 11 October 1879. An obituary in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in February 2003 credited its subject with a book entitled Power Your Golf Swing With Centrifical Force, which would be a trick worth watching. Air-conditioning engineers seem particularly fond of it - I found many references to devices called centrifical chillers.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/03/16 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Erin Cashel , 2006/02/22 at 8:03 pm

    Perhaps the word being mistaken is centripetal.
    Centripetal, or center-seeking force is any motion in a curved path represents accelerated motion, and requires a force directed toward the center of curvature of the path.

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