Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To swing back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm.
  • intransitive verb To waver, as between conflicting opinions or courses of action; vacillate: synonym: swing.
  • intransitive verb Physics To vary between alternate extremes, usually within a definable period of time.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To swing; move backward and forward; vibrate, as a pendulum.
  • Hence To vary or fluctuate; waver.
  • Synonyms Vacillate, Waver, etc. See fluctuate.
  • To cause to swing or move backward and forward; cause to vibrate or swing to and fro.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To move backward and forward; to vibrate like a pendulum; to swing; to sway.
  • intransitive verb To vary or fluctuate between fixed limits; to act or move in a fickle or fluctuating manner; to change repeatedly, back and forth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To swing back and forth, especially if with a regular rhythm.
  • verb intransitive To vacillate between conflicting opinions, etc.
  • verb intransitive To vary above and below a mean value.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb be undecided about something; waver between conflicting positions or courses of action
  • verb move or swing from side to side regularly

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin ōscillāre, ōscillāt-, from ōscillum, something that swings back and forth, swing, probably from ōscillum, small mask of Bacchus, diminutive of ōs, mouth; see ōs- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin oscillatus perfect passive particple of Latin oscillō ("swing"), from oscillum ("a swing"), usually identified with oscillum ("a little face or mask hung to a tree and swaying with the wind"), diminutive of os ("mouth, face").

Examples

Comments

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  • to oscillate is to move laterally

    August 13, 2007

  • Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas!

    October 18, 2008

  • my unorthodox personality oscillates au jour le jour

    July 5, 2011