fluctuation

The noun fluctuation refers to the deviations along the path from one point to another. We see frequent fluctuations in the stock market, as prices go up or down, and also in the weather, which is always changing.

The original form of the word fluctuation appeared as a mid-15th-century French word derived from the Latin fluctuationem, meaning "vacillation." The verb stem fluctuāre meant "to undulate," referring to waves, giving rise to the idea of change and movement that is at the heart of the word. It might help to remember that fluctuation has the same root as the word fluent, and to think of it as something flowing, with frequent change along the way.

Definitions of fluctuation
  1. noun
    an instance of change; the rate or magnitude of change
    synonyms: variation
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    types:
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    vicissitude
    a variation in circumstances or fortune at different times in your life or in the development of something
    allomerism
    (chemistry) variability in chemical composition without variation in crystalline form
    departure, deviation, difference, divergence
    a variation that deviates from the standard or norm
    permutation, replacement, substitution, switch, transposition
    an event in which one thing is substituted for another
    business cycle, trade cycle
    recurring fluctuations in economic activity consisting of recession and recovery and growth and decline
    daily variation
    fluctuations that occur between one day and the next
    diurnal variation
    fluctuations that occur during each day
    tide
    something that may increase or decrease (like the tides of the sea)
    discrepancy, variance, variant
    an event that departs from expectations
    driftage
    the deviation (by a vessel or aircraft) from its intended course due to drifting
    flection, flexion, inflection
    deviation from a straight or normal course
    type of:
    alteration, change, modification
    an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
  2. noun
    the quality of being unsteady and subject to changes
    “he kept a record of price fluctuations
    synonyms: wavering
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    types:
    scintillation
    the twinkling of the stars caused when changes in the density of the earth's atmosphere produce uneven refraction of starlight
    type of:
    irregularity, unregularity
    not characterized by a fixed principle or rate; at irregular intervals
  3. noun
    a wave motion
    “the fluctuations of the sea”
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    type of:
    undulation, wave
    (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
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