Acceleration

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Acceleration is a vector quantity that is defined as the rate at which an object changes its velocity. An object is accelerating if it is changing its velocity.

Since acceleration is a vector quantity, it has a direction associated with it. The direction of the acceleration vector depends on two things:

  • whether the object is speeding up or slowing down
  • whether the object is moving in the + or – direction

The general principle for determining the acceleration is that if an object is slowing down, then its acceleration is in the opposite direction of its motion.

Etymology

c1520: hasten the occurrence of

c1590: make quicker; to hasten, quicken; make haste

c1640: go faster, become faster