vi·​brate | \ ˈvī-ˌbrāt How to pronounce vibrate (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for vibrate


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Since the pandemic began, Radiant RFID LLC has sold 10,000 wristbands that vibrate when co-workers are too close to each other. Jeff Green,, "Offices Resort to Sensors in Futile Attempts to Keep Workers Apart," 20 Oct. 2020 Hydrogen’s lightness also allows those guiding ripples to vibrate faster, further strengthening the glue that binds the Cooper pairs. Quanta Magazine, "Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time," 14 Oct. 2020 Lisa from Alberta, Canada, has a special problem: The voices of some men cause one of her eardrums to vibrate with every syllable. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Listen to this: The oddest sounds drive some people crazy," 11 Oct. 2020 Rollers that vibrate and shake will be noisier, which can be a nuisance to not only the rider but to those nearby as well. Anthony Marcusa,, "The best bike roller," 29 Aug. 2020 Under the right conditions, the disc, the pads, and the caliper they're mounted in can start to vibrate in exactly the same way a violin string vibrates when stroked by the instrument’s bow. Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, "How to Fix Squeaky Brakes," 1 Oct. 2020 The watch will vibrate when the session starts, and then again two minutes later when the time is up. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "The Fitbit Sense is indeed a health watch, for better or worse," 22 Sep. 2020 These fuzzy yellow insects will deploy their signature buzz to literally vibrate the pollen off plants. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Climate Change Has Driven Serious Declines in World’s Bumblebees," 11 Feb. 2020 The pages all but vibrate with rich color: blues and greens and the flaming orange of a great cat who disdains to run when hunters enter his leafy realm. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Under the Surface," 4 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vibrate

Time Traveler for vibrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of vibrate was in 1616

See more words from the same year

Statistics for vibrate

Last Updated

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vibrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vibrate


How to pronounce vibrate (audio)

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 How to pronounce vibrate (audio) \
vibrated; vibrating

Kids Definition of vibrate

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on vibrate

What made you want to look up vibrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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