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

Synonyms for vibrate


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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 Kleopfer said eastern kingsnakes are quite docile and seldom bite when handled but will typically just vibrate their tail. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2022 This is the frequency where an object will naturally vibrate when exposed to a certain external force. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 17 Aug. 2022 Help ease the space between a long distance couple with these bracelets that light up and vibrate when one partner touches theirs. Terri Huggins Hart, Woman's Day, 15 Aug. 2022 During shows like Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom Park and Harmonious at EPCOT, the wristband will light up in pulses and vibrate during key moments of these performances. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, 27 July 2022 The device will vibrate in response to show that it is activated and the campus crisis team has been notified. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, 27 Aug. 2022 An electric tooth brush will vibrate tomato flower holding branches. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Aug. 2022 The first couple of attacks happen off-camera, as Kormákur shows the victim’s face just before a loud Dolby snarl makes the megaplex walls vibrate. Peter Debruge, Variety, 18 Aug. 2022 As a result, playing the song would cause the hard drive’s moving disks to vibrate too much, resulting in a crash. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 17 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for vibrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of vibrate was in 1616

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Dictionary Entries Near vibrate



vibrated concrete

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Statistics for vibrate

Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vibrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for vibrate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on vibrate

Nglish: Translation of vibrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vibrate for Arabic Speakers


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