vibrate

verb vi·brate \ ˈvī-ˌbrāt , especially British vī-ˈbrāt \
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of vibrate

vibrated; vibrating
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
1 a : 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

Examples of vibrate in a Sentence

  1. The car started to vibrate.

  2. When you blow into the instrument, the air vibrates the reed.

Recent Examples of vibrate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of vibrate

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

VIBRATE Defined for English Language Learners

vibrate

verb

Definition of vibrate for English Language Learners

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


VIBRATE Defined for Kids

vibrate

verb vi·brate \ ˈvī-ˌbrāt \

Definition of vibrate for Students

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


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