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[fluhk-choo-eyt] /ˈflʌk tʃuˌeɪt/
verb (used without object), fluctuated, fluctuating.
to change continually; shift back and forth; vary irregularly:
The price of gold fluctuated wildly last month.
to move back and forth in waves.
verb (used with object), fluctuated, fluctuating.
to cause to fluctuate.
Origin of fluctuate
1625-35; < Latin fluctuātus undulated, past participle of fluctuāre to flow, equivalent to fluctu(s) a flowing (derivative of fluere to flow) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
nonfluctuating, adjective
unfluctuating, adjective
1. See waver1 . 2. oscillate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fluctuates
Historical Examples
  • There are approximately—it fluctuates just a little bit—but there are approximately 300 men in the organization.

    Warren Commission (12 of 26): Hearings Vol. XII (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • From the former there has been an export trade for many years which fluctuates remarkably according to the demand.

  • Between these limits it fluctuates in a somewhat irregular way, in which the property of periodicity is not conspicuous.

  • And the demand, therefore, fluctuates according as the particular stone is fashionable or unfashionable.

    The Myths and Fables of To-Day Samuel Adams Drake
  • When it becomes panicky and fluctuates and resolves itself into small unheroic deals, woman gets the job.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • What is that over the sea's rim, where the tremulous, shifting, blue line of billows shimmers and fluctuates?

    At Large Arthur Christopher Benson
  • My experiments with the tactual illusion have led me to the conclusion that it fluctuates even more than the optical illusion.

  • This population, however, fluctuates very much according to the season.

  • He will be either with Miss Lester or her ladyship; he fluctuates between these two points of happiness as a rule.

    Adrien Leroy Charles Garvice
  • Its price, wages, fluctuates just as the price of all other commodities does, and bears the same relation to its value.

    Socialism John Spargo
British Dictionary definitions for fluctuates


to change or cause to change position constantly; be or make unstable; waver or vary
(intransitive) to rise and fall like a wave; undulate
Word Origin
C17: from Latin fluctuāre, from fluctus a wave, from fluere to flow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fluctuates



1630s, from Latin fluctuatus, past participle of fluctuare "to undulate" (see fluctuation). Related: Fluctuated; fluctuates; fluctuating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fluctuates in Medicine

fluctuate fluc·tu·ate (flŭk'chōō-āt')
v. fluc·tu·at·ed, fluc·tu·at·ing, fluc·tu·ates

  1. To vary irregularly.

  2. To rise and fall in waves; undulate.

fluc'tu·a'tion n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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