9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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
  • The amplitude and pitch of the buzzing sometimes shifted, and the intervals between tones would fluctuate.
  • As a result, a player's total salary can fluctuate extensively from one year to the next.
  • Day-to-day pollution levels have tended to fluctuate.
  • Snowshoe hare populations fluctuate cyclically about once a decade-possibly because of disease.
  • Robust networks have parts that continue to work together smoothly even if conditions fluctuate unpredictably.
  • Yes, planetary climates fluctuate, seasonally and temporally.
  • Brain areas that are well-connected will fluctuate in synchrony, providing an indirect way of mapping the brain's networks.
  • If they were along for the ride, it fluctuate more in response to the other lines.
  • But his value could fluctuate up or down depending on the market, and the number of teams interested.
  • Throughout childhood and adolescence, hormones may cause weight to fluctuate dramatically.
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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