an act or instance of oscillating.
a single swing or movement in one direction of an oscillating body.
fluctuation between beliefs, opinions, conditions, etc.
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.
a single fluctuation between maximum and minimum values in such an effect.
the difference between the least upper bound and the greatest lower bound of the functional values of a function in a given interval.
Also called saltus. the limit of the oscillation in an interval containing a given point, as the length of the interval approaches zero.

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To oscillations
World English Dictionary
oscillation (ˌɒsɪˈleɪʃən)
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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

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
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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

  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.
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
One way to study it is to measure so-called baryon acoustic oscillations.
But none compares with the oscillations that occur deep within the atom.
Such waves form when buoyancy pushes air upward while gravity pulls it
  downward, giving rise to oscillations in the air.
But the probe was also designed to look for stellar oscillations that can
  reveal a star's magnetic activity.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature