oscillation

noun

os·​cil·​la·​tion ˌä-sə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce oscillation (audio)
1
: the action or state of oscillating
stays can be effectively used to prevent oscillations in new bridgesD. B. Steinman
2
: variation, fluctuation
famines due to excessive storminess and violent oscillations of rain and drought, heat and coldEllsworth 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.
oscillational adjective

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 Decades of electroencephalogram studies have shown that a healthy brain’s electrical output produces patterns of repetitive oscillations, or brain waves. Elizabeth Landau, Quanta Magazine, 18 Mar. 2024 Playing and walking with a dog increased the strength of the alpha-band oscillations, the authors found, which generally indicate stability and relaxation. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 13 Mar. 2024 One strategy, called optical parametric oscillation, involves bouncing beams of laser light within a crystal, resulting in light organizing itself into pulses of coherent, stable waves. IEEE Spectrum, 12 Mar. 2024 Again, the effect was strongest when the positive words coincided with the up phase of slow oscillations. Ingrid Wickelgren, Scientific American, 20 Feb. 2024 The fan is able to quickly cool down small living spaces thanks to its powerful breeze and oscillation. Camryn Rabideau, Peoplemag, 12 Mar. 2024 The atomic clock, a marvel of modern science that measures the oscillation of atoms to mark time, is a testament to this journey as one of the most precise timekeeping devices in history, accurate to within an estimated 1 second per 100 million years. Markus Lutz, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 For those of you who don’t remember your college signal processing, a Fourier transform is a mathematical tool that turns a signal in time, such as the oscillation of voltage in a circuit, into a signal in frequency. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Dec. 2023 In 1955, physicist Louis Essen created an atomic clock based on the oscillation of cesium atoms. Markus Lutz, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oscillation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oscillation was in 1658

Dictionary Entries Near oscillation

Cite this Entry

“Oscillation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oscillation. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

oscillation

noun
os·​cil·​la·​tion ˌäs-ə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce oscillation (audio)
1
: the action or state of oscillating : vibration
2
3
: a single swing (as of an oscillating body) from one extreme limit to the other

Medical Definition

oscillation

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

More from Merriam-Webster on oscillation

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