oscillation

noun
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 oscillational (audio) , -​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

The camera rarely sits still — sometimes swiveling on its axis, sometimes stalking the characters from behind — and its movements drive the picture’s own tonal oscillations between ecstasy and dread. Los Angeles Times, "Toronto Film Festival: ‘Waves’ and ‘Just Mercy’ shine a light on black American families in crisis," 7 Sep. 2019 Part of the reason may be due to a trend called Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, a natural cycle of warming and cooling thought to occur in the Atlantic Ocean on a roughly 20- to 40-year cycle. National Geographic, "Hurricane Dorian—the science behind the dangerous storm," 30 Aug. 2019 In a hot nail, thermal oscillations make the domains unstable. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "The Physics of Falling Magnets in Stranger Things Season 3," 9 Aug. 2019 Sound is a mechanical oscillation made up of quasiparticles known as phonons. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Scientists found these old photographs contain metallic nanoparticles," 12 June 2019 The common orientation of the nanowires gave light from each LED a single preferred oscillation, or polarization. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "LEDs created from wonder material could revolutionize lighting and displays," 4 June 2019 And convection starts bringing the products of these oscillations higher up into the planet's envelope. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Jupiter may have had a head-on collision with a massive protoplanet," 14 Aug. 2019 Flavor swapping, also called neutrino oscillations, explains those deficits. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Resurrected detector will hunt for some of the strangest particles in the universe," 8 Aug. 2019 These oscillations would also arise if instead the universe experienced a period of rapid inflation. Quanta Magazine, "A New Test for the Leading Big Bang Theory," 11 Sep. 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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Statistics for oscillation

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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
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

oscillation

noun
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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