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early 13c., perhaps from Middle Dutch or Middle Flemish wigelen, frequentative of wiegen "to rock," from wiege "cradle" (cf. Old High German wiga, German Wiege, Old Frisian widze), from PIE root *wegh- "to move" (see weigh). Related: Wiggled; wiggling. The noun is attested from 1816.
[scientific computation] In solving partial differential equations by finite difference and similar methods, wiggles are sawtooth (up-down-up-down) oscillations at the shortest wavelength representable on the grid. If an algorithm is unstable, this is often the most unstable waveform, so it grows to dominate the solution. Alternatively, stable (though inaccurate) wiggles can be generated near a discontinuity by a Gibbs phenomenon.