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Oscillate   Listen
verb
Oscillate  v. i.  (past & past part. oscillated; pres. part. oscillating)  
1.
To move backward and forward; to vibrate like a pendulum; to swing; to sway.
2.
To vary or fluctuate between fixed limits; to act or move in a fickle or fluctuating manner; to change repeatedly, back and forth. "The amount of superior families oscillates rather than changes, that is, it fluctuates within fixed limits."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Oscillate" Quotes from Famous Books



... the hands of the Imperial University, whose literary style is a combination of the humor of the cider-cellars with the verbal fluency of Billingsgate. Under such auspices the ill-starred periodicals naturally oscillate between insipid propriety and labored coarseness. For a month or two the talented contributors go smoothly on in their career of untranslatable pleasantry, till some special atrocity calls forth the fatherly admonition of the police. Immediately a reaction ensues, filling the objectionable ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, September, 1878 • Various

... for weeks at a time on the foot of Brahma, then on his knee, on his thigh, on his navel, and so on, until, beneath the strain of this intense meditation, hallucinations appear, when all the forms of being, mingling together and transformed into each other, oscillate to and fro in this vertiginous brain until the motionless man, with suspended breath and fixed eyeballs, beholds the universe melting away like vapor over the vacant immensity of the Being in which he hopes for absorption. In this case the best of teachings would be a journey in India; ...
— Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books - with Introductions, Notes and Illustrations • Charles W. Eliot

... Logan or Swinging Stone was estimated to weigh about eighty tons, and although it was quite still when we reached it, we were easily able to set it moving. It was a block of granite, and continued to oscillate for some little time, but formerly it was said that it could not be moved from its axis by force. This led to a foolish bet being made by Lieutenant Goldsmith of the Royal Navy, who landed with his boat's crew on April 8th, 1824, and with the united exertions of nine men with handspikes, and excessive ...
— From John O'Groats to Land's End • Robert Naylor and John Naylor

... cannot get on without faith of some sort. There is a sense in which that is as eminently as obviously true; there is another, in which, in my judgment, it is as eminently as obviously false, and it seems to me that the hortatory, or pulpit, mind is apt to oscillate between the false and the true meanings, without ...
— Lectures and Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... Lund's is hidden by the woods. See; look there, sir, for the love of Heaven!" and the stout sailor trembled like a child as the light, describing a sharp curve, rose ten or twelve feet higher into the air, where it seemed to oscillate violently for a few seconds, and ...
— Adrift in the Ice-Fields • Charles W. Hall

... of this, we heard a strange rumbling noise under our feet, the ground beginning to oscillate violently, as if we were on board ship in a heavy sea; while, at the same time, a lot of earth and pieces of rock were thrown down on us from the heights above the little plateau where the cave was situated. The air, also, ...
— The Island Treasure • John Conroy Hutcheson

... previous day, and it appeared as if some of its powers of movement were thus expended. At 10 P.M. on June 7th, when the leaf depended vertically, its movements were observed by a mark being placed behind it, and the end of the attached filament was seen to oscillate slowly and slightly from side to side, as well ...
— The Power of Movement in Plants • Charles Darwin

... to observe the different customs of foreign sailors when sailing, homeward bound. The French, for instance, rig up a dummy man and trice him up to the main top, where he is made to oscillate with a pendulum movement until he gains sufficient impetus to clear the side, when he is let go overboard amidst the cheering of the men. The Russians man yards, white caps in hand, which, after waving in the air to ...
— In Eastern Seas - The Commission of H.M.S. 'Iron Duke,' flag-ship in China, 1878-83 • J. J. Smith

... to prevent the breakwaters from clashing against each other, they are united end to end in a very simple and ingenious manner. From each of them there starts a deeply inserted iron bar which terminates in a journal that permits the breakwater to oscillate. Between these two bars there is a sort of swivel, whose pieces, in playing upon one another, give the breakwaters elasticity, while always holding them apart (Fig. 4). From each side of the swivel start the branches of a stirrup ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 455, September 20, 1884 • Various

... external influences, and under unfavorable conditions of life suffer want and misery and give way to temptation, frequently falling into a life of vagabondage, drunkenness, and crime. In prison they often develop mental disorders, are looked upon as malingerers, and oscillate between prison and the insane asylum, only to begin the old game over again so soon as they again ...
— Studies in Forensic Psychiatry • Bernard Glueck

... the results of dissection of a very large number of men and of a very large number of gorillas. The anatomy of a type is not the anatomy of an individual; it is a kind of central point around which there oscillate the variations presented by the individuals belonging to the type. So far as this newer method has been applied, it has been found that the variations of the gorilla type frequently, in the case ...
— Thomas Henry Huxley; A Sketch Of His Life And Work • P. Chalmers Mitchell

... tropical sun, and resist to a considerable degree denudation by rain. Whether any further rise is caused by elevation from below is doubtful; there is no direct evidence of it, though slight earthquakes annually occur; and even when they have not been felt, the water of tanks has been seen to oscillate for three-quarters of an hour without intermission, from no discernible cause.* [The natives are familiar with this phenomenon, of which Dr. Baker remembers two instances, one in the cold season of 1834-5, the other in that of 1830-1. ...
— Himalayan Journals (Complete) • J. D. Hooker

... Scriptures? Did not experience also teach that the Church of Christ has become great in poverty, and straightway been corrupted by riches? Willingly or unwillingly, the government had to yield to public opinion, and awaken to a still more lively consciousness, that, if it would not continually oscillate, without character, between the old and the new, no escape remained, except in the way which the welfare and honor of the country pointed out; by making common cause with the ...
— The Life and Times of Ulric Zwingli • Johann Hottinger

... I am a vagrant really: or a migrant. I must migrate. Do you think a cuckoo in Africa and a cuckoo in Essex is one AND the same bird? Anyhow, I know I must oscillate between north and south, so oscillate I do. It's just my nature. All people ...
— Aaron's Rod • D. H. Lawrence

... relation may exist and be estimated, there must necessarily be a law, internal or external, which governs wages and prices; and since, in the present state of things, wages and prices vary and oscillate continually, we must ask what are the general facts, the causes, which make value vary and oscillate, and within what limits this ...
— The Philosophy of Misery • Joseph-Pierre Proudhon

... had the discussion stopped here. In the heat of debate each pushed his argument beyond his own convictions. Colonel Bradshawe sat sipping his wine, listening with mock gravity and seeming to oscillate between the opinions of the disputants, but most of the company agreed with Lord Strathern; still L'Isle found several staunch backers for his mechanical theory. But when quoting facts in support of his views, he referred to the conduct of their own men ...
— The Actress in High Life - An Episode in Winter Quarters • Sue Petigru Bowen

... and in the firelight, play the humble rural tunes on the fiddle to my happy children, and bask in the smiles of my sweet wife, than to be the 'archangel of war,' with my hands stained with human blood, or to make the 'frontiers of kingdoms oscillate on the map of the world, and then, away from home and kindred and country, die at last in exile ...
— Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales • Robert L. Taylor

... return of spring to the skies, airs, waters of the Delaware, return the sea-gulls. I never tire of watching their broad and easy flight, in spirals, or as they oscillate with slow unflapping wings, or look down with curved beak, or dipping to the water after food. The crows, plenty enough all through the winter, have vanish'd with the ice. Not one of them now to be seen. The steamboats have again come forth—bustling up, handsome, ...
— Complete Prose Works - Specimen Days and Collect, November Boughs and Goodbye My Fancy • Walt Whitman

... of the problems of family training; they oscillate between the wishy-washy sentimentality that permits anarchy in the home and the harsh, unthinking despotism that breeds hatred and rebellion. Fathers criticize the public schools but never take the time to go and look inside one. ...
— Religious Education in the Family • Henry F. Cope

... determinations of our own minds, or, in other words, whether there are any reasons or external considerations by which the mind guides itself in its decisions on matters of conduct. Do our moral opinions merely vary, or do they grow? Is there any progress to be traced in morality, or does it simply oscillate, within certain limits, round a fixed point? If some 'simple' and 'innate' idea of right, or some universal sense, were the test of morality, then we might expect that the moral decisions of all men would be uniform, or, at least, approximately uniform; if, on the other hand, there ...
— Progressive Morality - An Essay in Ethics • Thomas Fowler

... pretty vigorous youth in a quarter of a century; its inhabitants are so varied that the 'go slow' directions over its bridges are printed in three languages, and the religious services in its churches held in four; the thermometer, the barometer, the vane, the hygrometer, oscillate so rapidly, so frequently, so lawlessly, and through so wide a meteorological range, that the climate is simply indescribable, yet it is a growing resort for consumptives; it stands with all its gay prosperity just in the edge of a lonesome, untilled belt of land one hundred and fifty ...
— Sidney Lanier • Edwin Mims

... take into consideration carbon's relationship to oxidation and reduction respectively. As it is natural for sulphur to be in the reduced state, and for phosphorus to be in the oxidized state, so it is in the nature of carbon to be related to both states and therefore to oscillate between them. By its readiness to change over from the oxidized to the reduced state, it can serve the plant in the assimilation of light, while by its readiness to make the reverse change it serves man and animal in the breathing process. We breathe in oxygen from the air; ...
— Man or Matter • Ernst Lehrs

... Fern and Samuel Bligh, of Oneonta, N. Y., have patented an improved power for churning and other purposes where little power is required. It consists in the combination of a drum and weight, a train of gearing, and a pallet wheel arranged to oscillate a ...
— Scientific American, Volume 40, No. 13, March 29, 1879 • Various

... possession of his faculties, he would have been no match in political combinations for his powerful antagonists. Hoodwinked and fettered, suspected by his master, baffled, bewildered, irritated by his adversary, what could he do but plunge from one difficulty to another and oscillate between extravagant menace, and desponding concession, until his hopes and life were wasted quite away. His instructions came from Philip through Perez, and that most profound dissembler, as we have seen, systematically deceived the Governor, with the view of eliciting ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... injurious tool, instrument mind, intellect mad, insane birth, nativity sail, navigate sailor, mariner ship, vessel lying, mendacious upright, erect early, premature upright, vertical first, primary shake, vibrate raise, elevate swing, oscillate lift, elevate leaves, foliage greet, salute beg, importune choose, select beggar, mendicant choose, elect smell, odor same, identical sink, submerge name, nominate dip, immerse follow, pursue room, apartment follow, succeed see, perceive teach, ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... range from $25 to $75—about 50 per cent less than cost. Some of them, if not worn long, have been worn much; they are jagged under the arms and at the bottom of the skirt, stains are on the lining, and other objections present themselves to those who oscillate between the dresses and dollars, 'notwithstanding they have been worn by Madam Lincoln,' as a lady who looked from behind a pair of gold spectacles remarked. Other dresses, however, have scarcely been worn—one, perhaps, ...
— Behind the Scenes - or, Thirty years a slave, and Four Years in the White House • Elizabeth Keckley

... men of the Middle Ages look on the world as a vale of tears, which Pope and Emperor are set to guard against the coming of Antichrist; while the fatalists of the Renaissance oscillate between seasons of overflowing energy and seasons of superstition or of stupid resignation) here, in this circle of chosen spirits, the doctrine is upheld that the visible world was created by God in love, that it is the copy of a pattern pre-existing in Him, and that He will ever ...
— The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy • Jacob Burckhardt

... was dragged by the nuns to the immediate vicinity of the chair, which her excited imagination instantly converted into an engine of torture, that part of the floor on which the chair stood seemed to tremble and oscillate beneath her feet, as if it were ...
— Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf • George W. M. Reynolds

... is received does its work in making the electrons in that antenna oscillate back and forth. If the receiving antenna is tuned to the frequency which the sending station is producing, then the electrons in the receiving antenna oscillate back and forth most widely and there is a ...
— Letters of a Radio-Engineer to His Son • John Mills

... numberless instances to precisely the same specific formula of artifice. His diction is often inflated into fustian, and he indulges in exaggeration till it sometimes, unconsciously no doubt, amounts to falsehood. It is a common fault of those who strive at producing oratorical effects, to oscillate between commonplace and extravagance; and while studying Mr. Macaulay, one feels as if vibrating between facts that every one knows and consequences which nobody can believe. We are satisfied that whoever will take, as we have been obliged to do, the pains of sifting what Mr. Macaulay ...
— Famous Reviews • Editor: R. Brimley Johnson

... were marooned, that is, confined (as regarded his residence) to one desert island, and marooned also as to books, confined I mean (as regarded his reading) to one sole book, his choice (if he read English) would probably oscillate between Shakspeare and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Now, the Canterbury Tales had been finished about thirty-five years before Agincourt; so exquisitely false, even in this point, is Pope's account. Against the nothing of beggarly ...
— Theological Essays and Other Papers v2 • Thomas de Quincey

... a day or two later that a prolonged visit from the subject of these hesitations reminded her—perhaps more forcibly than before—that, however in his absence she might oscillate, in his actual presence a firm negative was, after all, the only answer which could ...
— A Comedy of Masks - A Novel • Ernest Dowson and Arthur Moore

... minutes after this brief conversation, and within a quarter of an hour of the time at which the train was due at Rugby, when the carriage, which had rocked a good deal from the first, began to oscillate very violently. One meagre little elderly traveller turned rather pale, and looked nervously at his fellow-passengers; but the young man who had spoken to Henry Dunbar, and a bald-headed commercial-looking gentleman opposite to him, ...
— Henry Dunbar - A Novel • M. E. Braddon

... which the Greve now presented was a frightful one. The heads, leveled by the perspective, extended afar, thick and agitated as the ears of corn in a vast plain. From time to time a fresh report, or a distant rumor, made the heads oscillate and thousands of eyes flash. Now and then there were great movements. All those ears of corn bent, and became waves more agitated than those of the ocean, which rolled from the extremities to the center, and beat, like the tides, against the ...
— Ten Years Later - Chapters 1-104 • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... being able to weigh the direct effects of the long-continued action of changed conditions of life without any selection, with the action of selection on mere accidental (so to speak) variability. I oscillate much on this head, but generally return to my belief that the direct action of the conditions of life has not been great. At least this direct action can have played an extremely small part in producing all the numberless and beautiful adaptations in every living creature. ...
— The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume II • Francis Darwin

... sleep in? Upon earth, houses in the town or cottages in the country feel every shock upon the surface of the globe. At sea, ships, rocked by the waves, are in perpetual movement. In the air, balloons incessantly oscillate upon the fluid strata of different densities. This projectile alone, travelling in absolute void amidst absolute silence, offered ...
— The Moon-Voyage • Jules Verne

... disease being carefully detailed by Dr. Thorne. The laborer at the time of his going to work had a severe diarrhoea, and while in the tunnel was obliged to make use of the bucket, in which the excavated chalk was hauled to the top. He admitted that at times the bucket, in being hauled up, would oscillate in such a way as to spill part of its contents and thereby pollute the water of the well below. Two weeks from this accidental pollution the epidemic began, and there can be little doubt of the relation of this mild case of typhoid to the epidemic ...
— Rural Hygiene • Henry N. Ogden

... dazzlingly that it hurts the eyes to look at them. Merciful God, how fine it is! A murmur of wonder and delight runs through the crowd; the bells peal more loudly still, the day grows brighter; the banners oscillate and move over the crowd as over the waves. The procession, glittering with the settings of the ikons and the vestments of the clergy, comes slowly down the road and turns towards the Jordan. Hands are waved to the belfry for the ringing to cease, and the blessing of the water ...
— The Cook's Wedding and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... Renault pushed back her chair, in indication that the repast was finished, Fougas arose without difficulty, gracefully offered his arm, and conducted his partner to the parlor. His gait was a little stiff and oppressively regular, but he went straight ahead, and did not oscillate the least bit. He took a couple of cups of coffee, and spirits in moderation, after which he began to talk in the most reasonable manner in the world. About ten o'clock, M. Martout, having expressed a wish to hear his history, he placed himself on a stool, ...
— The Man With The Broken Ear • Edmond About

... that if the Aether were frictionless, as has generally been supposed, the Aether could not have any motive power at all, and therefore could not transmit heat from one body to another. Professor Tyndall[10] on this point says, referring to the cooling of a red-hot ball: "The atoms of the ball oscillate in a resisting medium, which accepts their motion and transmits it on all sides with inconceivable velocity." Now in the previous quotation given in this article from the same authority, he states that the atoms are immersed in the Aether. So that evidently ...
— Aether and Gravitation • William George Hooper

... representative elements, perception accompanied by more complex elements of representation, then emotion, and that state of consciousness which surpasses sensations and perceptions. But Spencer has no suspicion of what art really is. His views oscillate between sensualism and moralism, and he sees little in the whole art of antiquity, of the Middle Ages, or of modern times, which can be looked upon as ...
— Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic • Benedetto Croce

... you I like to waver, and vacillate, and oscillate, and make scruples? These are things a woman can do, both with privilege and inclination. I think myself to be very clever in ...
— The Maid of Maiden Lane • Amelia E. Barr

... assuming that every push catches it exactly on the rebound. The same effect would be produced more slowly if 6 or 9 second intervals were substituted. But if you strike it at 4, 5, or 7 second intervals it will gradually cease to oscillate, as the effect of one blow neutralizes that of another. The same phenomenon is witnessed when two tuning-forks of equal pitch are mounted near one another, and one is struck. The other soon picks up the note. But a fork of unequal pitch would ...
— How it Works • Archibald Williams

... resolution they build upon the solid basis of a legal principle, I would endeavor to fix that mercury by a positive law. If to please an administration the judges can go one way to-day, and to please the crowd they can go another to-morrow, if they will oscillate backward and forward between power and popularity, it is high time to fix the law in such a manner as to resemble, as it ought, the great Author of all law, in whom there is no variableness ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VII. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... of a tempest there passes through the forests a terrible gust of wind which makes the trees shudder, to which profound silence succeeds, so had Napoleon, in passing, shaken the world; kings felt their crowns oscillate in the storm, and, raising hands to steady them, found only their hair, bristling with terror. The Pope had travelled three hundred leagues to bless him in the name of God and to crown him with the diadem; but Napoleon had taken it from his hands. Thus everything trembled ...
— Child of a Century, Complete • Alfred de Musset

... they differ, in reality, quite as much as we do, or rather more. But with respect to the ancient Germans, there certainly was among them one very prevalent form of head, and even the varieties of feature which occur among the Marcomans—for example, on Marcus Aurelius' column—all seem to oscillate round one ...
— Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine • Lewis Spence

... both in form and color, of any of our feathered neighbors. They have short legs, a short neck, large heads, and broad, flat beaks, with bristles at the base. They often fly with a peculiar quivering movement of the wings, and when at rest some of the species oscillate their tails ...
— Wake-Robin • John Burroughs

... she felt quite relieved, but the word "WARN" was again spelt out. The table then began to oscillate violently, and in reply to Mrs. James, who spoke very softly to the table, the spirit began to spell its name. It ...
— The Diary of a Nobody • George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith

... the triumph was fairly unctuous. His jaw seemed to oscillate in oil as he mouthed his contempt ...
— The Furnace of Gold • Philip Verrill Mighels

... broomstick) is suspended by fine threads or wires on the screen remote from the spectators. Behind this are ranged, one behind the other, and at right angles to the screen, a row of lighted candles. Being all in the same line, they throw one shadow only on the screen. The figure is now made to oscillate slightly, so as to impart some little motion to the shadow. One of the candles is now removed from its place in the row, and waved gently about, now high, now low, the effect to the spectators being that a second shadow springs out of the first, and dances about ...
— Entertainments for Home, Church and School • Frederica Seeger

... the aid of small metal spheres fixed in tubular supports by movable levers to which are communicated the motions of compression and dilatation of the air in the pump chamber. They oscillate in a plane whose direction may be varied according to the arrangement of the sphere, as seen in the two apparatus of this kind shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 2 will give an idea of the general arrangement. The two pistons ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 315, January 14, 1882 • Various

... vibrations cannot be seen, hold it against the edge of a sheet of paper and hear the blows it strikes; or, watch one of the lowest strings of the piano after striking the key a sharp blow; or, look closely at the heavier strings of the violin (or better still, the cello) and watch them oscillate rapidly to and fro as the ...
— Music Notation and Terminology • Karl W. Gehrkens

... We oscillate between the society of Saint-Vincent de Paul and the International. But this latter commits too many imbecilities to have a long life. I admit that it may overcome the troops at Versailles and overturn the government, the Prussians will enter Paris, and "order will reign" ...
— The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters • George Sand, Gustave Flaubert

... prejudices — is not only injurious because it perpetuates error with the obstinacy engendered by the evidence of ill-observed facts, but also because it hinders the mind from attaining to higher views of nature. Instead of seeking to discover the 'mean' or 'medium' point, around which oscillate, in apparent independence of forces, all the phenomena of the external world, this system delights in multiplying exceptions to the law, and seeks, amid phenomena and in organic forms for something beyond the marvel of a regular succession, and an ...
— COSMOS: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe, Vol. 1 • Alexander von Humboldt

... small profits, small expenditure, and constant accumulation. We hate the nouveaux riches, and scarcely wish to be among them. The progress for which we wish is political progress—not within, for there we are satisfied to oscillate, and shall be most happy if in 1860 we find ourselves where we were in 1820—but without. I believe that our master's sortie against Belgium was a pilot balloon. He wished to see what amount of opposition he had to fear from you, and from Belgium, and how far we should support him. He has found ...
— Correspondence & Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834 to 1859, Vol. 2 • Alexis de Tocqueville

... prove to be different, which, he held, would be depressing. The other Zulus oscillated between belief and scepticism, as do the unstable who set to work to study the evidences of Christianity. But Sammy did not oscillate, he literally howled, and prepared the food which poured in upon us so badly that I had to turn on Hans to do the cooking, for however little appetite we might have, it was necessary that we should keep ...
— Allan and the Holy Flower • H. Rider Haggard



Words linked to "Oscillate" :   oscillatory, waffle, sway, oscillation, hover, shillyshally, swing, librate, vacillate, waver, hunt, vibrate



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