[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

Related Words for undulating

rolling, waving, undulant, undulatory

Examples from the Web for undulating

Contemporary Examples of undulating

Historical Examples of undulating

  • On the other side were undulating pasture-lands on which grazed a few sheep.

    The Yates Pride

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

  • Suddenly the whole face of it was adorned with a verdant, undulating robe.


    William Godwin

  • The sun was shining violently upon the undulating surface of the land.

    Tales of Unrest

    Joseph Conrad

  • Lobate -us: divided by deep, undulating and successive incisions.

  • Like them, it is level or undulating, dry, and bare—in the main a land of pasture.

British Dictionary definitions for undulating



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 undulating



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper