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 fluctuńĀre 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

n an instance of change; the rate or magnitude of change

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a variation in circumstances or fortune at different times in your life or in the development of something
(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
something that may increase or decrease (like the tides of the sea)
discrepancy, variance, variant
an event that departs from expectations
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

n the quality of being unsteady and subject to changes

“he kept a record of price fluctuations
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

n a wave motion

“the fluctuations of the sea”
Type of:
undulation, wave
(physics) a movement up and down or back and forth

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