Meaning of free fall

free' fall'

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. the hypothetical fall of a body such that the only force acting upon it is that of gravity.
  2. the part of a parachute jump that precedes the opening of the parachute.
  3. a decline, esp. a sudden or rapid decline, as in value or prestige, that appears to be endless or bottomless: The economy was in a free fall all winter.

free-fall

Pronunciation: (frē'fôl"), [key]
— v., adj., n. -fell, -fall•en, -fall•ing,
—v.i.
  1. (of parachutists) to descend initially, as for a designated interval, in a free fall: The jumpers were required to free-fall for eight seconds.
—adj.
  1. denoting or suggesting a free fall: a free-fall recession.
—n.
  1. free fall (defs. 1, 2).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.