[ fluhk-choo-uhnt ]
/ ˈflʌk tʃu ənt /
Save This Word!

fluctuating; varying; unstable.
undulating; moving or seeming to move in waves.
We have a challenge that will make you blush: do you know the many words and ways to describe the opposite of red?
Question 1 of 7
Which of the following colors is used to symbolize AIR?

Origin of fluctuant

1550–60; <Latin fluctuant- (stem of fluctuāns) (present participle of fluctuāre to undulate). See fluctuate, -ant


un·fluc·tu·ant, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does fluctuant mean?

Fluctuant is an adjective used to describe things that are fluctuating—continually changing or shifting back and forth. It often implies that such things are unstable or prone to varying.

It’s typically applied to abstract or intangible things that frequently change, such as temperature, the stock market, or someone’s mood.

It can also be used to describe things that move or seem to move in waves.

Fluctuant is much less commonly used than the verb fluctuate and the noun fluctuation.

Example: The volume on my TV is annoyingly fluctuant—it gets louder during commercials and then it gets quiet again when the show comes back on.

Where does fluctuant come from?

The first records of the word fluctuant come from the 1500s. It comes from the Latin verb fluctuāre, meaning “to undulate” or “to flow,” from fluctus, “a wave.”

Waves in the ocean are always in motion, rising, falling, going back and forth—they’re fluctuant. Still, fluctuant is perhaps most commonly applied to nonphysical things. The amount of money in your bank account is fluctuant—it’s always going up and down as you make deposits and withdrawals. Things described as fluctuant may experience fluctuation that’s predictable or unpredictable. The temperature in deserts is fluctuant, often regularly fluctuating between the day, when it’s very hot, and the night, when it can get very cold. If a person’s mood is described as fluctuant, it’s probably unpredictable.

Things that are fluctuant can be said to be in a state of flux—continuous change. (The word flux comes from the same root as fluctuant).

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to fluctuant?

What are some synonyms for fluctuant?

What are some words that share a root or word element with fluctuant

What are some words that often get used in discussing fluctuant?

How is fluctuant used in real life?

Fluctuant can be used in all kinds of contexts, but it’s much less commonly used than the verb fluctuate or the noun fluctuation.



Try using fluctuant!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym for fluctuant?

A. variable
B. changing
C. persistent
D. vacillatory

How to use fluctuant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fluctuant

/ (ˈflʌktjʊənt) /

inclined to vary or fluctuate; unstable
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

Medical definitions for fluctuant

[ flŭkchōō-ənt ]

Capable of being moved. Used of an abnormal mass such as a tumor or abscess.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.