Oscillation

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Oscillation'

Oscillation Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    oscillation n
  1. the process of oscillating between states
  2. (physics) a regular periodic variation in value about a mean [syn: vibration]
  3. a single complete execution of a periodically repeated phenomenon; "a year constitutes a cycle of the seasons" [syn: cycle]
Oscillation Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Oscillation \Os`cil*la"tion\, n. [L. oscillatio a swinging.]
  1. The act of oscillating; a swinging or moving backward and forward, like a pendulum; vibration.
  2. Fluctuation; variation; change back and forth. His mind oscillated, undoubtedly; but the extreme points of the oscillation were not very remote. --Macaulay. Axis of oscillation, Center of oscillation. See under Axis, and Center.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Oscillation'


Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value (often a point of equilibrium) or between two or more different states. Familiar examples include a swinging pendulum and AC power. The term vibration is sometimes used more narrowly to mean a mechanical oscillation but sometimes is used to be synonymous with "oscillation". Oscillations occur not only in physical systems but also in biological systems and in human society.

The simplest mechanical oscillating system is a mass attached to a linear spring subject to no other forces. Such a system may be approximated on an air table or ice surface. The system is in an equilibrium state when the spring is static. If the system is displaced from the equilibrium, there is a net restoring force on the mass, tending to bring it back to equilibrium. However, in moving the mass back to the equilibrium position, it has acquired momentum which keeps it moving beyond that position, establishing a new restoring force in the opposite sense. If a constant force such as gravity is added to the system, the point of equilibrium is shifted. The time taken for an oscillation to occur is often referred to as the oscillatory period.

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