Oscillate vs. Vacillate

By Jaxson

  • Oscillate

    Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value (often a point of equilibrium) or between two or more different states. The term vibration is precisely used to describe mechanical oscillation. Familiar examples of oscillation include a swinging pendulum and alternating current.

    Oscillations occur not only in mechanical systems but also in dynamic systems in virtually every area of science: for example the beating of the human heart (for respiration), business cycles in economics, predator–prey population cycles in ecology, geothermal geysers in geology, vibrating strings in musical instruments, periodic firing of nerve cells in the brain, and the periodic swelling of Cepheid variable stars in astronomy.

  • Oscillate (verb)

    To swing back and forth, especially if with a regular rhythm.

    “A pendulum oscillates slower as it gets longer.”

  • Oscillate (verb)

    To vacillate between conflicting opinions, etc.

    “The mood for change oscillated from day to day.”

  • Oscillate (verb)

    To vary above and below a mean value.

  • Vacillate (verb)

    To sway unsteadily from one side to the other; oscillate.

  • Vacillate (verb)

    To swing indecisively from one course of action or opinion to another.

  • Oscillate (verb)

    move or swing back and forth in a regular rhythm

    “the grain pan near the front of the combine oscillates back and forth”

  • Oscillate (verb)

    vary or fluctuate between two states, limits, opinions, etc.

    “he was oscillating between fear and bravery”

  • Oscillate (verb)

    vary in magnitude or position in a regular manner about a central point.

  • Oscillate (verb)

    (of a circuit or device) cause the electric current or voltage running through it to vary in magnitude or position in a regular manner about a central point.

  • Vacillate (verb)

    waver between different opinions or actions; be indecisive

    “I vacillated between teaching and journalism”

Oxford Dictionary

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