os·​cil·​la·​tor | \ ˈä-sə-ˌlā-tər How to pronounce oscillator (audio) \

Definition of oscillator

1 : one that oscillates
2 : a device for producing alternating current especially : a radio-frequency or audio-frequency generator

Examples of oscillator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This watch features a rose gold metal casing and moving glitter pieces as well as a quartz oscillator and three hands to keep track of time as precisely as possible. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, 23 Mar. 2021 Then he was put on a high-frequency oscillator, another type of breathing machine that delivers very small breaths at a high rate, most commonly used for babies who are not responding to conventional ventilation. Jamie Landers, The Arizona Republic, 5 Mar. 2021 An atomic clock employs an electric oscillator regulated by an atom’s natural oscillation movement between the positive charge on the nucleus and the surrounding electron cloud. Larry Printz, Ars Technica, 24 June 2020 The oscillator’s properties are given by gravity, so any deviations may be attributable to deviations from Newtonian gravity. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 26 June 2020 Its 12-voice engine offers two oscillators per voice, a 32-step sequencer and four envelopes to deliver authentic, true analog grit. Popular Science, 26 May 2020 However, their precision is only a quarter of the SNES' CPU oscillator frequency; that is to say, the horizontal counter increments only once every four clock cycles. Ars Technica, 1 Apr. 2020 Another kind of entanglement between mechanical oscillators was reported, in back-to-back papers with Gröblacher’s team in Nature, by Mika Sillanpää of Aalto University in Finland and colleagues. Quanta Magazine, 25 June 2018 Even oscillators that have different natural frequencies, when coupled, reach a compromise and oscillate in tandem. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, 7 Apr. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of oscillator

1798, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About oscillator

Time Traveler for oscillator

Time Traveler

The first known use of oscillator was in 1798

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near oscillator

oscillation ripple



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for oscillator

Cite this Entry

“Oscillator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oscillator. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for oscillator


os·​cil·​la·​tor | \ ˈäs-ə-ˌlāt-ər How to pronounce oscillator (audio) \

Medical Definition of oscillator

: a device or mechanism for producing or controlling oscillations especially : one (as a radio-frequency generator) for producing an alternating current

More from Merriam-Webster on oscillator

Britannica English: Translation of oscillator for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oscillator


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!