os·​cil·​la·​tor | \ ˈä-sə-ˌlā-tər \

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

Our guess is that a MEMS oscillator used to generate a clock signal for the phones is misbehaving after exposure to helium, hence the system-wide failure. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Helium implicated in weird iPhone malfunctions," 31 Oct. 2018 Its design remained largely unchanged since its 1675 invention, until last year when LVMH subsidiary Zenith launched the Defy Lab, a watch with a one-piece silicon oscillator. Michael Clerizo, WSJ, "The Future of Watches: 3-D Printed Cases and Robot Horologists," 31 July 2018 On a watch, the traditional oscillator has over 30 parts including a balance wheel and a balance spring, which contribute to a watch’s accuracy through a back-and-forth rotation. Michael Clerizo, WSJ, "The Future of Watches: 3-D Printed Cases and Robot Horologists," 31 July 2018 Well, an oscillator, like a swing, has a frequency that is given by its construction: the mass and length of the rope set a preferred frequency. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Qubits can sync if they have more than two possible values," 7 Aug. 2018 Innovation these days mainly stems from the advent of expensive research and development teams.’ Swing Shift Every mechanical clock and watch needs an oscillator, a device that swings between two positions—like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. Michael Clerizo, WSJ, "The Future of Watches: 3-D Printed Cases and Robot Horologists," 31 July 2018 The fly represents the oscillator, the part that controls the pitch. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Thomas Dolby Has a Brilliantly Simple Explanation of How a Synthesizer Works," 24 Aug. 2015 To reduce the cost and size, researchers have demonstrated an optical oscillator that only requires an operating turbine to function. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Spinning glass ball rejects light from one direction," 27 June 2018 This change is then picked up by a second device called a ring oscillator, which converts voltage changes into a string of electrical pulses. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "New artificial nerves could transform prosthetics," 31 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of oscillator

1798, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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The first known use of oscillator was in 1798

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More Definitions for oscillator


os·​cil·​la·​tor | \ ˈäs-ə-ˌlāt-ər \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on oscillator

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oscillator

Britannica English: Translation of oscillator for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oscillator

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