oscillate

play
verb os·cil·late \ˈä-sə-ˌlāt\

Definition of oscillate

oscillated

;

oscillating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 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>

  3. 2 :  to vary between opposing beliefs, feelings, or theories <The mood of the voters has oscillated between optimism and pessimism.>

  4. 3 :  to vary above and below a mean value <Bank rate oscillates between 2 and 6 percent.>

oscillatory

play \ˈä-sə-lə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

Origin and Etymology of oscillate

Latin oscillatus, past participle of oscillare to swing, from oscillum swing


First Known Use: 1726

Synonym Discussion of oscillate

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>.

OSCILLATE Defined for English Language Learners

oscillate

play
verb os·cil·late \ˈä-sə-ˌlāt\

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

oscillate

play
verb os·cil·late \ˈä-sə-ˌlāt\

Definition of oscillate for Students

oscillated

oscillating

  1. :  to swing or move back and forth between two points


Medical Dictionary

oscillate

play
intransitive verb os·cil·late \ˈäs-ə-ˌlāt\

Medical Definition of oscillate

oscillated

;

oscillating

  1. 1:  to swing backward and forward like a pendulum

  2. 2:  to move or travel back and forth between two points

oscillatory

\ˈäs-ə-lə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr-\play adjective


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