Definition of oscillate
1a : to swing backward and forward like a pendulum The fan was oscillating.b : to move or travel back and forth between two points he oscillates regularly between his comfortable home … and his downtown office-laboratory — Gladwin Hill
2 : to vary between opposing beliefs, feelings, or theories The mood of the voters has oscillated between optimism and pessimism.
3 : to vary above and below a mean value Bank rate oscillates between 2 and 6 percent.
oscillatoryplay \ˈä-sə-lə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective
Recent Examples of oscillate from the Web
Sands says that since then, Canadian governments have oscillated between Mulroney’s staunch support for US policy and Trudeau’s outreach to adversaries, while relying on the UN and other global bodies to decide on military interventions.
Yet peeking out from all the A-listers is one of 2017’s most revelatory listens: Sweet, the sophomore EP from Swedish singer-songwriter Marlene that oscillates between heartbreak and infatuation over shimmering, rhythmic production.
Trump’s view of Comey has oscillated wildly over the past year.
Ever the performer, Saddam oscillated between denying knowledge of atrocities that occurred under his rule and proclaiming his own omnipotence.
With respect to global trends, both democratic and nondemocratic regimes have been generally stable, while relatively few countries have been oscillating between regime types.
While removing loose pine straw (well within the rules), Garcia’s ball appeared to oscillate and perhaps settle lower from its original position.
For several seasons while Angel Pagan oscillated between the disabled list and the active roster, the Giants posted starkly different records with and without him.
Einstein had already learned in physics class what a light beam was: a set of oscillating electric and magnetic fields rippling along at 186,000 miles a second, the measured speed of light.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oscillate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of oscillate
Latin oscillatus, past participle of oscillare to swing, from oscillum swing
First Known Use: 1726See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of oscillate
OSCILLATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of oscillate for English Language Learners
: to move in one direction and then back again many times
: to keep changing from one belief, feeling, condition, etc., to an opposite one
: to change in strength or direction regularly
OSCILLATE Defined for Kids
Definition of oscillate for Students
: to swing or move back and forth between two points
Seen and Heard
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