Definition of kinetic energy

1) Kinetic energy is the energy possessed by an object due to its motion. It is directly proportional to the mass of the object and the square of its velocity. The formula to calculate kinetic energy (KE) is KE = 1/2 mv2, where m represents mass and v represents velocity.


Physics, Physical Chemistry, Mechanics

Related Terms

Potential Energy, Energy Conservation, Mechanical Energy, Momentum, Work


Any moving object possesses kinetic energy. For instance, a moving car has kinetic energy which is converted to thermal and sound energy during braking. In chemistry, kinetic energy is essential in understanding the behavior of gas molecules.

Student Level

This definition is suitable for middle school, high school, and undergraduate physics and chemistry students.


The concept of kinetic energy was primarily developed in the 19th century by physicists and mathematicians such as Gottfried Leibniz and Emilie du Chatelet, among others.

source: Kinetic energy | physics. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from Kinetic Energy. (n.d.). Physics LibreTexts. Retrieved from