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[vahy-breyt] /ˈvaɪ breɪt/
verb (used without object), vibrated, vibrating.
to move rhythmically and steadily to and fro, as a pendulum; oscillate.
to move to and fro or up and down quickly and repeatedly; quiver; tremble.
(of sounds) to produce or have a quivering or vibratory effect; resound.
to thrill, as in emotional response.
to move between alternatives or extremes; fluctuate; vacillate.
verb (used with object), vibrated, vibrating.
to cause to move rhythmically and steadily to and fro, swing, or oscillate.
to cause to move to and fro or up and down quickly and repeatedly; cause to quiver or tremble.
to give forth or emit by, or as by, vibration.
to measure or indicate by vibration or oscillation:
a pendulum vibrating seconds.
Origin of vibrate
1610-20; < Latin vibrātus (past participle of vibrāre to move to and fro); see -ate1
Related forms
vibratingly, adverb
nonvibrating, adjective
revibrate, verb, revibrated, revibrating.
unvibrated, adjective
unvibrating, adjective
2. See shake. 3. echo. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vibrate
  • They vibrate enough to shake the steering wheel at idle, a turnoff to a luxury-brand buyer seeking smooth refinement.
  • Fluorescent bulbs vibrate, adding a medically forensic, anemic brightness.
  • In the labs, which are in the lower decks, the floor and counters vibrate with the engine sounds.
  • Hot objects emit infrared radiation, and the electrons in these metals vibrate when exposed to such radiation.
  • When such a material is placed in a rapidly alternating electric field, it starts to vibrate.
  • These use special crystals that vibrate when charged to squeeze out controlled amounts of ink.
  • Concentrated in this way, they cause the tissues at the focus to vibrate and heat up dramatically.
  • Some systems even try to rouse the driver by making the steering wheel or the seat vibrate.
  • He doesn't turn his cellphone to vibrate in movie theaters.
  • The muscles in the vocal folds of the larynx vibrate rapidly to make a purring noise.
British Dictionary definitions for vibrate


to move or cause to move back and forth rapidly; shake, quiver, or throb
(intransitive) to oscillate
to send out (a sound) by vibration; resonate or cause to resonate
(intransitive) to waver
(physics) to undergo or cause to undergo an oscillatory or periodic process, as of an alternating current; oscillate
(intransitive) (rare) to respond emotionally; thrill
Derived Forms
vibratile (ˈvaɪbrəˌtaɪl) adjective
vibrating, adjective
vibratingly, adverb
vibratory, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin vibrāre
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 vibrate

1610s, from Latin vibratus, past participle of vibrare "move quickly to and fro, shake," from PIE *w(e)ib- "move quickly to and fro" (cf. Lithuanian wyburiu "to wag" (the tail), Danish vippe, Dutch wippen "to swing," Old English wipan "to wipe"). Related: Vibrated; vibrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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