oscillation

noun
os·​cil·​la·​tion | \ ˌä-sə-ˈlā-shən \

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 , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for oscillation

Synonyms

change, fluctuation, flux, inconstancy

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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

This is a bit of a double win because the evidence that neutrinos have mass is quite strong now—like from the flavor oscillations from solar neutrinos, for instance. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Neutrinos may decay invisibly, resolving problems in IceCube data," 24 Sep. 2018 The massive vehicle was tested twice on unmanned missions (both ultimately successful) but the second flight had serious glitches, including vertical oscillations (dubbed the pogo effect) and premature engine shutdowns. Ernie Mastroianni, Discover Magazine, "Apollo 8: Humanity's First Trip to the Moon," 21 Dec. 2018 However, a harmonic oscillation began at 265 seconds into the flight and grew increasingly unstable until 474 seconds, when the Kestrel engine shut down early. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Inside the eight desperate weeks that saved SpaceX from ruin," 21 Sep. 2018 Thematically, Susie’s identity crisis parallels with Sabrina’s oscillation between witch and mortal. Danielle Corcione, Teen Vogue, ""Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Star Lachlan Watson on Non-Binary Identity and Telling a Bit of Their Own Story Through Susie Putnam," 29 Oct. 2018 The shift in the infrasound signal when Cotopaxi's crater changed its shape provided strong evidence that a crater's geometry determines the frequency and oscillations of that signal. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Scientists look to music of volcanos to better monitor eruptions," 24 Aug. 2018 As demand increases, the line frequency of the electrical grid—the oscillation of alternating current over the wire—decreases. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Just say no: Wi-Fi-enabled appliance botnet could bring power grid to its knees," 17 Aug. 2018 Over time — over several months, in fact — those oscillations became tighter and tighter as his decision to quit his music career became firmer. Kathryn Crawford Saxer, The Seattle Times, "Major career decisions can take time to get right," 13 July 2018 This is approximately half of a complete oscillation with a time of about 3.5 seconds. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "The Physics Behind a Fake Flying Samurai Battle," 3 Apr. 2018

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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Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for oscillation

The first known use of oscillation was in 1658

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More Definitions for oscillation

oscillation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of oscillation

: the act of regularly moving from one position to another and back to the original position

: a frequent change from one state, position, or amount to another

: the act of changing from one belief, feeling, etc., to an opposite one

oscillation

noun
os·​cil·​la·​tion | \ ˌäs-ə-ˈlā-shən \

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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