1 : to form or move in waves : fluctuate
2 : to rise and fall in volume, pitch, or cadence
3 : to present a wavy appearance
Did You Know?
Undulate and inundate are word cousins that branch from unda, the Latin word for "wave." No surprise there. But would you have guessed that abound, surround, and redound are also unda offspring? The connection between unda and these words is easier to see when you learn that at some point in their early histories each of them essentially had the meaning of "to overflow"—a meaning that inundate still carries, along with its "overwhelm" sense.
"He could hear the muffled fart of a tuba from the German oompah band warming up in Feltman's beer garden. Beyond the garden was the Ziz coaster, hissing and undulating through the trees with the peculiar sound that gave it its name." — Kevin Baker, Dreamland, 1999
"Mats of bright green duckweed undulated in the slow current of the La Crosse River, reminding an observer of the shape shifting in a lava lamp." — Dave Skoloda, The La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune, 4 Sept. 2019
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
Fill in the blanks to complete a word derived from Latin unda that refers to a "water nymph": und _ _ _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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