Synonyms of vibrate

to make a series of small irregular or violent movements
  • the glasses and knickknacks on the shelves vibrated during the slight earthquake

Synonyms for vibrate

Words Related to vibrate

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Frequently Asked Questions About vibrate

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

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Learn More about vibrate

Time Traveler for vibrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of vibrate was in 1616

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Cite this Entry

“Vibrate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on vibrate

Dictionary: Definition of vibrate

Nglish: Translation of vibrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vibrate for Arabic Speakers

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