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[verb uhn-juh-leyt, uhn-dyuh-, -duh-; adjective uhn-juh-lit, -leyt, uhn-dyuh-, -duh-] /verb ˈʌn dʒəˌleɪt, ˈʌn dyə-, -də-; adjective ˈʌn dʒə lɪt, -ˌleɪt, ˈʌn dyə-, -də-/
verb (used without object), undulated, undulating.
to move with a sinuous or wavelike motion; display a smooth rising-and-falling or side-to-side alternation of movement:
The flag undulates in the breeze.
to have a wavy form or surface; bend with successive curves in alternate directions.
(of a sound) to rise and fall in pitch:
the wail of a siren undulating in the distance.
verb (used with object), undulated, undulating.
to cause to move in waves.
to give a wavy form to.
Also, undulated. having a wavelike or rippled form, surface, edge, etc.; wavy.
Origin of undulate
1650-60; < Latin undulātus waved, equivalent to und(a) wave + -ul(a) -ule + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
undulator, noun
nonundulate, adjective
nonundulating, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for undulate
Historical Examples
  • Don't they look brave As they undulate—(undulate, mind you,From unda, a wave).

  • In the meadows I see her undulate—the black miner, the mole, continues her labours.

    The Bird Jules Michelet
  • Mrs. Hearty collapsed into a chair and began to undulate with mirth.

    Adventures of Bindle Herbert George Jenkins
  • The two lower lobes are very small; the lobes are undulate or entire.

    Forest Trees of Illinois Fuller George D.
  • I vow if her neck had been bare one could have seen it undulate beneath the skin.

    Simon the Jester William J. Locke
  • It began to undulate like the threads of a cobweb lifted by the wind.

  • For variety's sake the engineer made it undulate horizontally, like a great serpent flying over the earth.

  • The momentum of his jump carried him in a long swing, and he at once began to undulate himself to increase his swing.

  • Her eyes began to glitter more brilliantly, and her shape to undulate in freer curves.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Moreover, the air has not only been made to undulate, but has had currents caused in it by the transit of the bodies.

British Dictionary definitions for undulate


to move or cause to move in waves or as if in waves
to have or provide with a wavy form or appearance
adjective (ˈʌndjʊlɪt; -ˌleɪt)
having a wavy or rippled appearance, margin, or form: an undulate leaf
Derived Forms
undulator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin undulātus, from unda a wave
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 undulate

1660s, from undulation. Related: undulated, undulating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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