- to change continually; shift back and forth; vary irregularly: The price of gold fluctuated wildly last month.
- to move back and forth in waves.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for fluctuate on Thesaurus.com
1. See waver1. 2. oscillate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for fluctuate
Student newspapers tend to fluctuate between male and female editorships.Why Women Trail Men on Campus
Rebecca Davis O'Brien
March 21, 2011
The face of the ground seems to fluctuate and toss like billows of the sea.Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
And even if each marries its own kind, the number of children will fluctuate.
They are such as are not likely to fluctuate greatly in amount.Up To Date Business
I do not think they will; they may, however, fluctuate a little.Letters to his mother, Ann Borrow
So that if God do not change (which is impossible), then my hope shall not fluctuate.Letters of Samuel Rutherford
- to change or cause to change position constantly; be or make unstable; waver or vary
- (intr) to rise and fall like a wave; undulate
C17: from Latin fluctuāre, from fluctus a wave, from fluere to flow
Word Origin and History for fluctuate
1630s, from Latin fluctuatus, past participle of fluctuare "to undulate" (see fluctuation). Related: Fluctuated; fluctuates; fluctuating.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper