View synonyms for oscillation


[ os-uh-ley-shuhn ]


  1. an act or instance of oscillating.
  2. a single swing or movement in one direction of an oscillating body.
  3. fluctuation between beliefs, opinions, conditions, etc.
  4. Physics.
    1. an effect expressible as a quantity that repeatedly and regularly fluctuates above and below some mean value, as the pressure of a sound wave or the voltage of an alternating current.
    2. a single fluctuation between maximum and minimum values in such an effect.
  5. Mathematics.
    1. the difference between the least upper bound and the greatest lower bound of the functional values of a function in a given interval.
    2. Also called saltus. the limit of the oscillation in an interval containing a given point, as the length of the interval approaches zero.


/ ˈɒsɪlətərɪ; ˌɒsɪˈleɪʃən; -trɪ /


  1. physics statistics
    1. regular fluctuation in value, position, or state about a mean value, such as the variation in an alternating current or the regular swinging of a pendulum
    2. a single cycle of such a fluctuation
  2. the act or process of oscillating
“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


/ ŏs′ə-lāshən /

  1. A repeating fluctuation in a physical object or quantity.
  2. See also attractor
  3. A single cycle of such fluctuation.

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Derived Forms

  • oscillatory, adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of oscillation1

1650–60; < Latin oscillātiōn- (stem of oscillātiō ) a swinging, equivalent to oscillāt ( us ) ( oscillate ) + -iōn- -ion
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Example Sentences

A simple example is sound waves, the synchronized oscillations of molecules of matter.

Klimesch developed the “binary hierarchy brain-body oscillation theory,” which says that consciousness is a function of various levels of resonance both within the brain and between the brain and various other organs, like the heart and stomach.

The researchers found that slow oscillations could trigger synaptic activity in neurons that were not connected by synapses.

Two photons, for instance, can be entangled so they always have the opposite polarization, or angle of oscillation.

You can think of the problems that need solving as the demand and human skills as the supply, and the two are in constant oscillation, including, every few decades or centuries, a massive shift.

One of those observations is BOSS: the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey.

Baryon oscillation is basically sound waves in the early Universe.

The last time we detected a plasma oscillation was nine years ago.

Seeing the luggage piled “Olympus high,” so as to occasion an alarming oscillation.

The oscillation without raised and depressed the level of the waters within, with the regularity of respiration.

Thus there is a perpetual oscillation in spiritual truths, and in spiritual doctrines of any significance, even when not truths.

He went off into a happy mist of quantum mechanics, oscillation theory, and periodic functions of a complex variable.

The brake is watched carefully, lest irregularity of lubrication should cause oscillation of speed with the changing resistance.


Related Words




oscillating universe theoryoscillator