vi·​brate | \ˈvī-ˌbrāt, especially British vī-ˈbrāt\
vibrated; vibrating

Definition of vibrate 

transitive verb

1 : to swing or move to and fro

2 : to emit with or as if with a vibratory motion

3 : to mark or measure by oscillation a pendulum vibrating seconds

4 : to set in vibration

intransitive verb

1a : to move to and fro or from side to side : oscillate

b : fluctuate, vacillate vibrate between two choices

2 : to have an effect as or as if of vibration music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory— P. B. Shelley

3 : to be in a state of vibration : quiver

4 : to respond sympathetically : thrill vibrate to the opportunity

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Synonyms for vibrate


agitate, bucket, convulse, jerk, jiggle, joggle, jolt, jounce, judder [chiefly British], quake, quiver, shake, shudder, wobble (also wabble)

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Choose the Right Synonym for vibrate

swing, sway, oscillate, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate mean to move from one direction to its opposite. swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side. the door suddenly swung open sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement. trees swaying in the breeze oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction. an oscillating fan vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact. the vibrating strings of a piano fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value. fluctuating interest rates waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering. the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion. an undulating sea of grass

Examples of vibrate in a Sentence

The car started to vibrate. When you blow into the instrument, the air vibrates the reed.

Recent Examples on the Web

Then came different colors, waterproof options, vibrating wands, weird-looking brushes, and comically racy product names. Kellie Ell, Glamour, "Social Media Is Killing Mascara," 28 Nov. 2018 Its non-slip surface will keep your phone from slipping as vibrating notifications come in while an internal cooling fan will keep things cool. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "Amazon's 1-day Anker sale brings all-time low prices on chargers and cables," 2 Nov. 2018 The result is that each of the objects in the house has a profound, almost vibrating presence. Gisela Williams, ELLE Decor, "A Portuguese Family Manor is Transformed Into a Heritage-Rich Island Getaway," 17 Sep. 2018 There’s even a vibrating alarm mode for those who wisely banish their other devices from the bedroom. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep—And Why It Should Be Your Top Priority (Really)," 1 Nov. 2018 Razer isn’t the first manufacturer to experiment with vibrating headphones. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Razer Nari Ultimate gaming headset rumbles your ears," 28 Sep. 2018 Meals are also tested on a vibrating table and dropped to make sure the packaging won’t shatter or bend. Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, "Frozen Dinners Make a Comeback," 8 Sep. 2018 The robots in question are little more than tiny vibrating bits of plastic, with no programming or intelligence to speak of. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "These Tiny, Mindless Robots Are More Than the Sum of Their Parts," 16 May 2018 Their thoughts to their mouth to pulsations of air molecules to a vibrating membrane inside a hole in your skull to bones going clickety-click to waves of electrical activity to thoughts? Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Fundamental Nihilism of Yanny vs. Laurel," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vibrate.' 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 vibrate

1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for vibrate

Latin vibratus, past participle of vibrare to brandish, wave, rock — more at wipe

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Statistics for vibrate

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vibrate

The first known use of vibrate was in 1616

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More Definitions for vibrate



English Language Learners Definition of vibrate

: to move back and forth or from side to side with very short, quick movements


vi·​brate | \ˈvī-ˌbrāt \
vibrated; vibrating

Kids Definition of vibrate

: to move or cause to move back and forth or from side to side very quickly

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More from Merriam-Webster on vibrate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vibrate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vibrate

Spanish Central: Translation of vibrate

Nglish: Translation of vibrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vibrate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on vibrate

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a nest or breeding place

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