Definition of oscillate in English:


Syllabification: os·cil·late
Pronunciation: /ˈäsəˌlāt


[no object]
  • 1Move or swing back and forth at a regular speed: a pendulum oscillates about its lowest point
    More example sentences
    • 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, swing back and forth, swing to and fro, sway
    informal wigwag
  • 1.1 [with adverbial] Waver between extremes of opinion, action, or quality: 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, seesaw, yo-yo, sway, vacillate, waffle, hover
    informal wobble
  • 2 Physics Vary in magnitude or position in a regular manner around a central point.
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    More example sentences
    • 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: /əˈsiləˌtôrē/
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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