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[fluhk-choo-eyt] /ˈflʌk tʃuˌeɪt/
verb (used without object), fluctuated, fluctuating.
to change continually; shift back and forth; vary irregularly:
The price of gold fluctuated wildly last month.
to move back and forth in waves.
verb (used with object), fluctuated, fluctuating.
to cause to fluctuate.
Origin of fluctuate
1625-35; < Latin fluctuātus undulated, past participle of fluctuāre to flow, equivalent to fluctu(s) a flowing (derivative of fluere to flow) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
nonfluctuating, adjective
unfluctuating, adjective
1. See waver1 . 2. oscillate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fluctuate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With voluntary and especially with selective acts, the whole process is much slower, and the feelings often fluctuate up and down.

    An Introduction to Psychology Wilhelm Max Wundt
  • The face of the ground seems to fluctuate and toss like billows of the sea.

  • You are likely to change and fluctuate in your moods from day to day, and to lack energy and persistence.

  • And even if each marries its own kind, the number of children will fluctuate.

  • Hence the law that "the value of producers' goods tends to fluctuate more violently than the value of consumers' goods."

    Readings in Money and Banking Chester Arthur Phillips
  • They are such as are not likely to fluctuate greatly in amount.

  • Since that he had never allowed himself to fluctuate in his purpose.

    Ayala's Angel Anthony Trollope
  • All of these are variations that fluctuate with even slight changes in the climate.

    The Peaches of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • So that if God do not change (which is impossible), then my hope shall not fluctuate.

    Letters of Samuel Rutherford Samuel Rutherford
British Dictionary definitions for fluctuate


to change or cause to change position constantly; be or make unstable; waver or vary
(intransitive) to rise and fall like a wave; undulate
Word Origin
C17: from Latin fluctuāre, from fluctus a wave, from fluere to flow
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
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Word Origin and History for fluctuate

1630s, from Latin fluctuatus, past participle of fluctuare "to undulate" (see fluctuation). Related: Fluctuated; fluctuates; fluctuating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fluctuate in Medicine

fluctuate fluc·tu·ate (flŭk'chōō-āt')
v. fluc·tu·at·ed, fluc·tu·at·ing, fluc·tu·ates

  1. To vary irregularly.

  2. To rise and fall in waves; undulate.

fluc'tu·a'tion n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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