• synonyms


  1. Electronics. a circuit that produces an alternating output current of a certain frequency determined by the characteristics of the circuit components.
  2. a device or machine producing oscillations.
  3. a person or thing that oscillates.
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Origin of oscillator

1825–35; < New Latin, equivalent to Latin oscillā(re) to swing (see oscillate) + -tor -tor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for oscillator

Historical Examples

  • First, he would need an oscillator to produce the complex pulse.

    Tom Swift and the Electronic Hydrolung

    Victor Appleton

  • The oscillator, though simple in its construction, is one of the most wonderful of all electrical devices.

  • From this oscillator Doctor Tesla sends out the electrical waves with which he hopes to revolutionize industry.

  • Think of the tower of the oscillator as a tube, and of the great mushroom-shaped top of the plant as another ball.

  • Cupid tossed his curls in the direction of the moving staircase, which in Toyland was known as the "Oscillator."

    Winnie Childs

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for oscillator


  1. a circuit or instrument for producing an alternating current or voltage of a required frequency
  2. any instrument for producing oscillations
  3. a person or thing that oscillates
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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

Word Origin and History for oscillator


agent noun in Latin form from oscillate; 1835 of persons, 1889 in reference to electric currents.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper