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September 16th, 2003 · 4 Comments

Oscillate. Vacillate. What’s the difference?

I’m in the kind of mood that word-association exercises seem very amusing to me. My brain seems to be moving very very quickly, and I’m having trouble keeping up. I’m no more caffeinated than usual, but maybe it’s still too much.

Other stuff: Work is getting very busy, and my weird hours are going better since I figured out that the big problem was working on Saturdays. So now I’m staying later during the week (which makes no difference at all, since everyone is asleep when I get home no matter when it is), and my weekends are my own. This weekend is the Mothers of Multiples sale — it’s like the Fair, only a garage sale. :)

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Janet // Sep 17, 2003 at 8:29 am

    Hmmm. Oscillate vs. vacillate. I looked them up (Webster’s 7th new collegiate…yeah, I know that dates me ) and oscillate means wavering between two choices and vacillate means fluctuating or hesitating in choosing among options. Vacillate also lists oscillate as a synonym. I think oscillate is better when you only have two choices; use vacillate when there are more than two. Case solved?

  • 2 christie // Sep 17, 2003 at 11:34 am

    Kind of a rhetorical question there, Janet. :) Just words that I had in my head at that moment…

    But it’s good to know I have friends who also like dictionaries. :) (Dictionary.com lists the two as synonyms of each other, and relates oscillate to a mask of Bacchus hanging in a tree.)

  • 3 Thad // Sep 17, 2003 at 11:48 am

    In biological systems, oscillate means fluctuating between two (or more) steady states and is a happy norm, while vacillate (having no biological definition I’m aware of) tends to be defined by being unsure of what choice to make among many.

  • 4 cb // Sep 17, 2003 at 2:55 pm

    Oooh, fluctuate. That’s another good one.

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