Definition of oscillate in English:


Line breaks: os¦cil|late
Pronunciation: /ˈɒsɪleɪt


[no object]
  • 1Move or swing back and forth in a regular rhythm: the grain pan near the front of the combine oscillates back and forth
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    • The tip may also oscillate up and down as it moves across the surface, mapping out the surface features.
    • It is simply a measure of how quickly something is oscillating or vibrating.
    • The cams are mounted on a shaft which oscillates in rotation, and the pistons move so as to follow the profile of the cam.
    swing, sway, swing from side to side, swing back and forth, swing backwards and forwards, swing to and fro, vibrate
    North American informal wigwag
  • 1.1 [with adverbial] Vary or fluctuate between two states, limits, opinions, etc.: he was oscillating between fear and bravery
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    • This can cause the players' strategies to oscillate back and forth indefinitely.
    • They oscillate back and forth between the Church and party officials, depending on which side is more convincing at a time.
    • He'll oscillate back and forth between a discussion of eastern philosophies and a discussion of particle physics.
    waver, swing, fluctuate, alternate, see-saw, veer, yo-yo, sway, go from one extreme to the other, vary, vacillate, teeter, hover
    informal wobble, blow hot and cold
  • 2 Physics Vary in magnitude or position in a regular manner about a central point.
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    • The light made the electrons in each atom oscillate back and forth from one side of the atom to the other.
    • The temperature of a very narrow central region was observed to oscillate in a sinusoidal manner for over two minutes.
    • The physical scalar fields that oscillate as normal modes about the potential minimum are the massless angular mode and the massive radial mode.
  • 2.1(Of a circuit or device) cause the electric current or voltage running through it to behave in this way.
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    • Alternating Current simply means that the voltage oscillates between positive and negative.
    • The electric field reverses direction, or oscillates, every 15 minutes.
    • When sufficient gsl is present, it drives fast bursting, and as a result the slow s2 current does not have enough time to oscillate.



Pronunciation: /ɒˈsɪlət(ə)ri, ˈɒsɪləˌt(ə)ri/
More example sentences
  • This study was carried out to clarify the detailed features of oscillatory motion using atomic force microscopy.
  • Figure 1 shows that changes in the power of two oscillatory components at different frequencies can be continuously and accurately tracked over time.
  • Studies so far show no direct evidence saying how the variation of oscillatory frequency as shown in Figs.4 and 5 depends on the sites along axonemes.


early 18th century: from Latin oscillat- 'swung', from the verb oscillare.

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