os·​cil·​la·​tion | \ ˌä-sə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce oscillation (audio) \

Definition of oscillation

1 : the action or state of oscillating stays can be effectively used to prevent oscillations in new bridges— D. B. Steinman
2 : variation, fluctuation famines due to excessive storminess and violent oscillations of rain and drought, heat and cold— Ellsworth Huntington
3 : a flow of electricity changing periodically from a maximum to a minimum especially : a flow periodically changing direction
4 : a single swing (as of an oscillating body) from one extreme limit to the other Each oscillation of the pendulum represents one second.

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Other Words from oscillation

oscillational \ ˌä-​sə-​ˈlā-​shnəl How to pronounce oscillation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for oscillation


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Examples of oscillation in a Sentence

the continued oscillation of the fan There has been oscillation between optimism and pessimism among voters.
Recent Examples on the Web Last year’s historic season was tied to the cool phase of this oscillation known as La Niña, during which ocean temperatures were below normal in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Washington Post, 20 May 2021 The way wrestling heroes are built, their rivalries with heels, the storylines that stretch out over years, and even fans’ easy oscillation between loving and hating a character all would feel perfectly at home on any shonen anime. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, 28 Apr. 2021 The 36-inch Vornado Tower Fan has four powerful speeds, as well as 80-degree oscillation to cool down a larger area. Camryn Rabideau, Forbes, 13 May 2021 With three different speed settings and an oscillation mode, this fan has a tilted head that will keep the air properly circulating throughout your room. Samantha Driscoll, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Apr. 2021 The oscillation is great for groups sitting outside. Zachary Visconti, chicagotribune.com, 10 Apr. 2021 The signal observed had an average spacing that resembles an irregular, roughly 60-year AMO-like oscillation. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, 5 Mar. 2021 Given the oscillation of the new Georgia voting law’s supposed intent between Jim Crow-esque suppression and needed improvements to the system, maybe the content of the bill is not the optimal way of judging it. Teddy Mcdarrah, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021 Tuesday’s announcement signaled the end of Wiseman’s oscillation in and out of the starting lineup. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oscillation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of oscillation

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Learn More About oscillation

Time Traveler for oscillation

Time Traveler

The first known use of oscillation was in 1658

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Statistics for oscillation

Last Updated

27 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oscillation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oscillation. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for oscillation



English Language Learners Definition of oscillation

: the act of regularly moving from one position to another and back to the original position
somewhat formal : a frequent change from one state, position, or amount to another
somewhat formal : the act of changing from one belief, feeling, etc., to an opposite one


os·​cil·​la·​tion | \ ˌäs-ə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce oscillation (audio) \

Medical Definition of oscillation

1 : the action or state of oscillating
2 : a flow of electricity changing periodically from a maximum to a minimum especially : a flow periodically changing direction


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