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Weightlessness is the complete or near complete absence of the sensation of weight. This is also termed zero-g, although the term is more correctly "zero g-force." It occurs in the absence of any contact forces upon objects including the human body.
The forces which support bodies at rest in a relatively strong gravitational field (such as on the surface of the Earth), is normally perceived as weight. These weight-sensations originate from contact with supporting floors, seats, beds, scales, and the like. A sensation of weight is also produced, even when the gravitational field is zero, when contact forces act upon and overcome a body's inertia by mechanical, non-gravitational forces- such as in a centrifuge, a rotating space station, or within an accelerating vehicle.
When the gravitational field is non-uniform, a body in free fall experiences tidal effects and is not stress-free. Near a black hole, such tidal effects can be very strong. In the case of the Earth, the effects are minor, especially on objects of relatively small dimension (such as the human body or a spacecraft) and the overall sensation of weightlessness in these cases is preserved. This condition is known as microgravity and it prevails in orbiting spacecraft.