oscillation

[os-uh-ley-shuhn]
noun
1.
an act or instance of oscillating.
2.
a single swing or movement in one direction of an oscillating body.
3.
fluctuation between beliefs, opinions, conditions, etc.
4.
Physics.
a.
an effect expressible as a quantity that repeatedly and regularly fluctuates above and below some mean value, as the pressure of a sound wave or the voltage of an alternating current.
b.
a single fluctuation between maximum and minimum values in such an effect.
5.
Mathematics.
a.
the difference between the least upper bound and the greatest lower bound of the functional values of a function in a given interval.
b.
Also called saltus. the limit of the oscillation in an interval containing a given point, as the length of the interval approaches zero.

Origin:
1650–60; < Latin oscillātiōn- (stem of oscillātiō) a swinging, equivalent to oscillāt(us) (see oscillate) + -iōn- -ion

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World English Dictionary
oscillation (ˌɒsɪˈleɪʃən)
 
n
1.  physics, statistics
 a.  regular fluctuation in value, position, or state about a mean value, such as the variation in an alternating current or the regular swinging of a pendulum
 b.  a single cycle of such a fluctuation
2.  the act or process of oscillating
 
oscillatory
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

oscillation
1658, from Fr. oscillation, from L. oscillationem (nom. oscillatio), pp. of oscillare "to swing," supposed to be from oscillum "little face," lit. "little mouth," a mask of open-mouthed Bacchus hung up in vineyards to swing in the breeze.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

oscillation os·cil·la·tion (ŏs'ə-lā'shən)
n.

  1. The act of oscillating.

  2. The state of being oscillated.

  3. A single oscillatory cycle.

  4. A stage in inflammation in which the accumulation of white blood cells in the small vessels arrests the passage of blood, thus causing a to-and-fro movement of the blood at each cardiac contraction.


os'cil·la'tion·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
oscillation  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (ŏs'ə-lā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A repeating fluctuation in a physical object or quantity. See also attractor, harmonic motion.

  2. A single cycle of such fluctuation.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
These include not only fireflies but a number of other organisms and body cells
  that have a preferred rate of natural oscillation.
If no spot-changing oscillation were happening it should have seen only one or
  two.
He observed a small clockwise motion of the pendulum's apparent plane of
  oscillation.
The maser oscillation persists as long as the hydrogen is fed into the system.
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