When you feel something vibrate, it trembles and shakes. A mild earthquake, for example, might make your chandelier vibrate.

A hummingbird's wings vibrate, and so does an electric toothbrush. That extremely rapid back-and-forth movement is what happens when something vibrates. Something can also vibrate in a more musical, resonant way — the sound of an organ might vibrate through a church, for example. The root is the Latin word vibratus, which means "move quickly to and fro or shake."

Definitions of vibrate
  1. verb
    sound with resonance
    synonyms: resonate
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    make vibrant sounds, purr
    indicate pleasure by purring; characteristic of cats
    type of:
    go, sound
    make a certain noise or sound
  2. verb
    shake, quiver, or throb; move back and forth rapidly, usually in an uncontrolled manner
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    shimmy, wobble
    tremble or shake
    judder, shake
    shake or vibrate rapidly and intensively
    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  3. verb
    move or swing from side to side regularly
    synonyms: oscillate
    see moresee less
    oscillate about a desired speed, position, or state to an undesirable extent
    vibrate before coming to a total rest
    type of:
    sway, swing
    move or walk in a swinging or swaying manner
  4. verb
    be undecided about something; waver between conflicting positions or courses of action
    synonyms: hover, oscillate, vacillate
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    be uncertain and vague
    type of:
    hesitate, waffle, waver
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
  5. verb
    feel sudden intense sensation or emotion
    synonyms: thrill, tickle
    see moresee less
    type of:
    excite, shake, shake up, stimulate, stir
    stir the feelings, emotions, or peace of
Word Family

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