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
Origin and Etymology of oscillate
Latin oscillatus, past participle of oscillare to swing, from oscillum swing
First Known Use: 1726
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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