fluc·​tu·​a·​tion ˌflək-chə-ˈwā-shən How to pronounce fluctuation (audio)
plural fluctuations
: an act or instance of fluctuating : an irregular shifting back and forth or up and down in the level, strength, or value of something
Small fluctuations in prices are to be expected.
Some fluctuation in real estate values is not unusual.
North American species in general, having contended with blazing July days and frosty September nights as they evolved, are much more tolerant of temperature fluctuations than tropical species are.Jonathan Franzen
ˌflək-chə-ˈwā-shnəl How to pronounce fluctuation (audio)

Examples of fluctuation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead, spikes in ACL and MCL tears are attributed to natural fluctuations across seasons—which is completely reasonable. James M. Smoliga, Dvm, Ars Technica, 10 Nov. 2023 Salt is the only flavor-enhancer that can stand up to the wild temperature fluctuations at that location. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Sep. 2023 Breast tenderness Breast tenderness during menopause can occur due to hormonal fluctuations, especially changes in estrogen and progesterone levels, said Winn. Melissa Rudy, Fox News, 24 Oct. 2023 The watch detects body temperature fluctuations during menstruation and ovulation, which is helpful for women tracking their fertility. Nicol Natale, Peoplemag, 10 Oct. 2023 It’s ebbed and flowed since then, owing to recessions and labor market fluctuations, but the share of women choosing to stay home with their children has held steady around 25% for decades. Jane Thier, Fortune, 8 Oct. 2023 However, this changed in the last 100,000 years because of fluctuations in the global climate during the late Pleistocene. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 5 Sep. 2023 Dizziness or vertigo Dizziness or vertigo during menopause can also be attributed to hormonal fluctuations. Melissa Rudy, Fox News, 24 Oct. 2023 Salaries are pegged to the dollar to protect against currency fluctuations. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, 28 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fluctuation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fluctuation was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near fluctuation

Cite this Entry

“Fluctuation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fluctuation. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


fluc·​tu·​a·​tion ˌflək-chə-ˈwā-shən How to pronounce fluctuation (audio)
: a motion like that of waves
especially : the wavelike motion of a fluid collected in a natural or artificial cavity of the body observed by palpation or percussion
: a slight and nonheritable variation
especially : such a variation occurring in response to environmental factors
: recurrent and often more or less cyclic alteration (as of form, size, or color of a bodily part)
fluctuate verb
fluctuated; fluctuating

More from Merriam-Webster on fluctuation

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