nu·​ta·​tion nü-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce nutation (audio)
archaic : the act of nodding the head
: oscillatory movement of the axis of a rotating body (such as the earth) : wobble
: a spontaneous usually spiral movement of a growing plant part
nutational adjective

Examples of nutation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These changes are caused by wobbles in Mars’ rotation called nutations. Elizabeth Rayne, Ars Technica, 2 July 2023

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

Word History


Latin nutation-, nutatio, from nutare to nod, rock — more at numen

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nutation was in 1612

Dictionary Entries Near nutation

Cite this Entry

“Nutation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on nutation

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