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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Oscillate \Os"cil*late\ ([o^]s"s[i^]l*l[=a]t), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Oscillated ([o^]s"s[i^]l*l[=a]`t[e^]d); p. pr. & vb. n. Oscillating ([o^]s"s[i^]l*l[=a]`t[i^]ng).] [L. oscillare to swing, fr. oscillum a swing, a little mask or puppet made to be hung from trees and swing in the wind, prob. orig., a little mouth, a dim. from os mouth. See Oral, and cf. Osculate.] [1913 Webster] 1. To move backward and forward; to vibrate like a pendulum; to swing; to sway. [1913 Webster] 2. To vary or fluctuate between fixed limits; to act or move in a fickle or fluctuating manner; to change repeatedly, back and forth. [1913 Webster] The amount of superior families oscillates rather than changes, that is, it fluctuates within fixed limits. --De Quincey. [1913 Webster]