verb (used without object), os·cil·lat·ed, os·cil·lat·ing.

  1. to swing or move to and fro, as a pendulum does.
  2. to vary or vacillate between differing beliefs, opinions, conditions, etc.: He oscillates regularly between elation and despair.
  3. Physics. to have, produce, or generate oscillations.
  4. Mathematics. (of a function, sequence, etc.) to tend to no limit, including infinity: The sequence 0, 1, 0, 1, … oscillates.

verb (used with object), os·cil·lat·ed, os·cil·lat·ing.

  1. to cause to move to and fro; vibrate.


  1. (intr) to move or swing from side to side regularly
  2. (intr) to waver between opinions, courses of action, etc
  3. physics to undergo or produce or cause to undergo or produce oscillation

v.1726, back-formation from oscillation, or else from Latin oscillatus, past participle of oscillare (see oscillation). From 1917 in electronics. Related: Oscillated; oscillating. v.

  1. To swing back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm.
  2. To vary between alternate extremes, usually within a definable period of time.

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