Simple Definition of fluctuate
: to change level, strength, or value frequently
Examples of fluctuate in a sentence
His popularity has fluctuated during his term in office.
In the desert, the temperature fluctuates dramatically.
Origin and Etymology of fluctuate
Latin fluctuatus, past participle of fluctuare, from fluctus flow, wave, from fluere — more at fluid
First Known Use: 1634
Synonym Discussion of fluctuate
swing, sway, oscillate, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate mean to move from one direction to its opposite. swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side <the door suddenly swung open>. sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement <trees swaying in the breeze>. oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction <an oscillating fan>. vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact <the vibrating strings of a piano>. fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value <fluctuating interest rates>. waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering <the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing>. undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion <an undulating sea of grass>.
FLUCTUATE Defined for Kids
Definition of fluctuate for Students
: to change continually and especially up and down <The temperature fluctuated.>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up fluctuate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).