Synonym Chooser

How does the verb vibrate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of vibrate are fluctuate, oscillate, sway, swing, undulate, and waver. While all these words mean "to move from one direction to its opposite," vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact.

the vibrating strings of a piano

When might fluctuate be a better fit than vibrate?

The words fluctuate and vibrate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value.

fluctuating interest rates

In what contexts can oscillate take the place of vibrate?

Although the words oscillate and vibrate have much in common, oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction.

an oscillating fan

When is it sensible to use sway instead of vibrate?

The synonyms sway and vibrate are sometimes interchangeable, but sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement.

trees swaying in the breeze

When can swing be used instead of vibrate?

The meanings of swing and vibrate largely overlap; however, swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side.

the door suddenly swung open

When is undulate a more appropriate choice than vibrate?

While in some cases nearly identical to vibrate, undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion.

an undulating sea of grass

When would waver be a good substitute for vibrate?

While the synonyms waver and vibrate are close in meaning, waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering.

the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing

Thesaurus Entries Near vibrate

Cite this Entry

“Vibrate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on vibrate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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