Thesaurus

undulate

verb

Synonyms of undulate

formal to move or be shaped like waves
  • undulating hills
  • an undulating surface

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for undulate

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About undulate

How does the verb undulate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of undulate are fluctuate, oscillate, sway, swing, vibrate, and waver. While all these words mean "to move from one direction to its opposite," undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion.

an undulating sea of grass

When is fluctuate a more appropriate choice than undulate?

While in some cases nearly identical to undulate, fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value.

fluctuating interest rates

Where would oscillate be a reasonable alternative to undulate?

The words oscillate and undulate can be used in similar contexts, but oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction.

an oscillating fan

When can sway be used instead of undulate?

While the synonyms sway and undulate are close in meaning, sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement.

trees swaying in the breeze

When might swing be a better fit than undulate?

Although the words swing and undulate have much in common, swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side.

the door suddenly swung open

When would vibrate be a good substitute for undulate?

The meanings of vibrate and undulate largely overlap; however, vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact.

the vibrating strings of a piano

When is it sensible to use waver instead of undulate?

In some situations, the words waver and undulate are roughly equivalent. However, waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering.

the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing

Learn More About undulate

Time Traveler for undulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of undulate was in 1658

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About undulate

Thesaurus Entries Near undulate

undulant

undulate

undulated

See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Undulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/undulate. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on undulate

Nglish: Translation of undulate for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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