fluc·​tu·​ate | \ ˈflək-chə-ˌwāt How to pronounce fluctuate (audio) , -chü-ˌāt \
fluctuated; fluctuating

Definition of fluctuate

intransitive verb

1 : to shift back and forth uncertainly Oil prices fluctuated. Temperatures fluctuated.
2 : to rise and fall in or as if in waves The boat fluctuated on the rough sea.

transitive verb

: to cause to fluctuate

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Synonyms & Antonyms for fluctuate



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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of fluctuate in a Sentence

His popularity has fluctuated during his term in office. In the desert, the temperature fluctuates dramatically.
Recent Examples on the Web In seven to 10 years, the odds fluctuate modestly, improving slightly. Scott Burns, Dallas News, 18 July 2021 Such yields can fluctuate minute to minute based on lending and borrowing activity. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, 17 July 2021 Storm chances fluctuate a bit, too, with the best chances probably today (although they still might be hit-or-miss) and this weekend. Washington Post, 14 July 2021 Supply and demand can fluctuate, with taxis outnumbering passengers at times since there are still fewer air travelers than before the pandemic. New York Times, 15 June 2021 Pate said the occupancy rates at state and private centers typically fluctuate over time, with some periods busier or quieter than others. Hallie Miller, baltimoresun.com, 10 June 2021 Real estate prices in Vero Beach's Riomar With a small population and valuable real estate, Riomar's median listing price can fluctuate greatly depending on one listing. Spencer Elliott, Forbes, 5 June 2021 The average temperature doesn't fluctuate much throughout the year, hovering around 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Maya Kachroo-levine, Travel + Leisure, 3 July 2021 However, gold’s price can fluctuate, as 2020 highlighted. Jessica Mathews, Fortune, 28 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fluctuate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fluctuate

1604, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2

History and Etymology for fluctuate

Latin fluctuatus, past participle of fluctuare, from fluctus flow, wave, from fluere — more at fluid

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Time Traveler for fluctuate

Time Traveler

The first known use of fluctuate was in 1604

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Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fluctuate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fluctuate. Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for fluctuate



English Language Learners Definition of fluctuate

: to change level, strength, or value frequently


fluc·​tu·​ate | \ ˈflək-chə-ˌwāt How to pronounce fluctuate (audio) \
fluctuated; fluctuating

Kids Definition of fluctuate

: to change continually and especially up and down The temperature fluctuated.

More from Merriam-Webster on fluctuate

Nglish: Translation of fluctuate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fluctuate for Arabic Speakers


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