[verb uhn-juh-leyt, uhn-dyuh-, -duh-; adjective uhn-juh-lit, -leyt, uhn-dyuh-, -duh-]

verb (used without object), un·du·lat·ed, un·du·lat·ing.

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), un·du·lat·ed, un·du·lat·ing.

to cause to move in waves.
to give a wavy form to.


Also un·du·lat·ed. 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 formsun·du·la·tor, nounnon·un·du·late, adjectivenon·un·du·lat·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for undulate

Historical Examples of undulate

  • 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

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) undulated

having a wavy or rippled appearance, margin, or forman undulate leaf
Derived Formsundulator, noun

Word Origin for undulate

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

Word Origin and History for undulate

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper