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

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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 In the lab down the hall from her office, among rows of workbenches and sterile hoods, Gao drapes tinfoil over plastic bottles of ginseng cells and leaves them to vibrate in a machine. Emily Cataneo, Wired, "A Plan to Save Appalachia's Wild Ginseng," 7 Nov. 2020 Riders' devices will vibrate and a green go sign will appear on the reader to indicate their fare is accepted. Abdel Jimenez,, "Tap and go: CTA, Pace launch digital Ventra card for iPhone and Apple Watch riders," 26 Oct. 2020 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 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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Time Traveler for vibrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of vibrate was in 1616

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Statistics for vibrate

Last Updated

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vibrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

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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

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