Simply and basically put, kinetic energy is energy in motion, or the energy of motion. Kinetic energy is more officially described as the energy contained by a form of matter because of its motion, or as work that is needed to accelerate an object from rest to action. As well, kinetic energy can sometimes be calculated as half a body's mass multiplied by its speed squared. All of these ideas help define kinetic energy.
The term for "kinetic energy" comes from the word kinesis -which is Greek for "motion"-and the Greek term energeia for "active work," or what we would consider to be energy. According to this particular translation, "kinetic energy" is defined as "through motion, do active work." Therefore, analyzing the etymology of the term kinetic energy is also necessary for understanding what it is.
Furthermore, examples help describe kinetic energy. Any particular thing-object, person-that is moving is using kinetic energy. Examples of kinetic energy at work include a cat running, a woman doing aerobics, a frisbee that was thrown, an icicle falling to the ground in early spring, and a charged particle in an electric field.
It is also important to learn how energy is transferred from one form to another. When matter is not in motion-or not possessing kinetic energy-it contains potential energy, which is essentially the opposite of kinetic energy. Potential energy transfers into kinetic energy when a force is applied to the object to make it move in some way. In addition, kinetic energy can also be transformed from other types of energy, such as chemical energy or heat energy. Kinetic energy can also be converted into other forms of energy, such as gravitational, elastic or electric potential energy, and then back into kinetic energy again, depending on the forces being applied.