Definition of vibrate in US English:



  • 1Move or cause to move continuously and rapidly to and fro.

    no object ‘the cabin started to vibrate’
    with object ‘the bumblebee vibrated its wings for a few seconds’
    • ‘While drive rail mounts could potentially allow the drive to move or vibrate slightly after it is installed, the drive fits so tightly that it is not going to move.’
    • ‘For starters, we rejected anything that moved or vibrated randomly in all directions.’
    • ‘No, seriously, it was really loud, and totally vibrating the entire apartment besides.’
    • ‘There have been some nasty accidents (two were fatal) caused by harvesters vibrating their handbrakes loose and crushing operators.’
    • ‘They used piezoelectric motors and nanocircuitry to make the blade they were installed in vibrate very rapidly, greatly increasing its cutting power.’
    • ‘These bones vibrate in succession and move the lower membrane of the organ of corti located in the cochlea of the inner ear.’
    • ‘It is this centrifugal force, which varies with the square power of the exciter speed, that causes the machine to vibrate, move forward, and compact the soil.’
    • ‘It vibrates the bed and extracts the build-up of mites - we also use an extraction filter that filters the air.’
    • ‘This vibrates the branches, causing the fruit to fall onto the nets, and in the process murders your arms - I can vouch for this from personal experience.’
    • ‘Neils Bohr's model of the atom, set forth in a series of papers in 1913, described atoms as constantly in motion, continuously vibrating, and moving.’
    • ‘A singing cricket rubs the file of one wing over the scraper of the other wing while vibrating the wing membrane.’
    • ‘She leads us on to superstring theory and ‘brane worlds’, which picture particles as tiny vibrating filaments and the universe itself as a giant wobbly sheet.’
    • ‘For those who are deaf and blind, vibrating pagers, have been supplied and flashing or vibrating alarm clocks have also been provided for tenants.’
    • ‘The hotter something seems to be, the faster its atoms are moving, vibrating back and forth.’
    • ‘An overlaid panel's smoothness, used with the proper release agent, vibrators, and vibrating techniques helps to move the air bubbles to the surface.’
    • ‘The inquest had heard how, despite his wife's requests, he had not been supplied with a special vibrating mattress that would have prevented the sores.’
    • ‘At intervals one and then another checked the pace, poising with wings uplifted and vibrating and tail depressed and expanded.’
    • ‘The metal vibrates rapidly when subjected to a magnetic field, producing heat.’
    • ‘The idea of a car automatically detecting that the driver is dozing off (and vibrating the seat to avert disaster) is astonishing.’
    • ‘He would then swim in very tight circles, rapidly vibrating his pectoral and caudal fins.’
    quiver, shake, tremble, quaver, waver, shiver, shudder, judder, jiggle, wobble
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1vibrate withno object Quiver with (a quality or emotion)
      ‘his voice vibrated with terror’
      • ‘That implied subtext - that Frankenstein was a type of golem - made my pre-teen mind vibrate with a promise of special insight.’
      • ‘The book vibrates with Ehrenreich's rage toward middle-class Americans.’
      • ‘Here, they're tender and sweet, vibrating with the light energy of carrots and other tender root vegetables.’
      • ‘For a few minutes my whole being vibrates with a song so powerfully joyful I forget the years and stand as easy as a young man does at the start of the journey, careless of the distance to be covered or the load to be carried.’
      • ‘Sure, it's a monument, but it's one that vibrates with a zest for life that nothing as ancient can match.’
      • ‘The beautifully spun yarns can still vibrate with strong primary reds, yellows and blues, into the more sophisticated variations of mauve, delicate pinks and maroons.’
      • ‘Beirut is a city that vibrates with political culture and is defined by a history of social justice struggles.’
      • ‘Far from being evasive, I think that Coetzee is passionately confessing, and that his entire book vibrates with confession.’
      • ‘Here, the air vibrates with the sound of booming waves and dancing, swooping birds calling to each other through the eddying gusts of Atlantic wind.’
      • ‘They live in great financial security in a large house where five-year-old Ruby rockets around, vibrating with life.’
      • ‘Your spacious three-bedroom dwelling is now a clammy bedsit, vibrating with underlying tension.’
      • ‘Gordon was vibrating with emotions I could not identify.’
      • ‘Produced with technocrat perfection, it presents the palate with a pleasing gooseberry and apple-like nose and a palate that vibrates with clean fruit flavours.’
      • ‘The image vibrates with the raw, visceral excitement of that night.’
      • ‘Her every movement vibrates with life, from the suggestive glance of her eyes to the turn of her head.’
      • ‘They vibrate with emotions that do not simply serve the story, but rather power-charge it.’
      • ‘The great surprise is that out of this slim body, a sonorous, powerful voice emanates vibrating with a immense nuances of expression.’
      • ‘But it was not so, long long back, before the advent of Christianity, when the southeastern corner of Europe was vibrating with knowledge, when Greece was a centre of learning.’
      • ‘His poetry vibrating with emotion and filled with lofty ideals led to his being labelled ‘Prince of Poets’.’
      • ‘Finn had been silent the whole time, listening to her outburst, which varied from flat tones to declarations brimming with passion, vibrating with emotion.’
    2. 1.2no object (of a sound) resonate; continue to be heard.
      ‘a low rumbling sound that began to vibrate through the car’
      • ‘I shrugged uselessly, before I turned to hear Alex's laugh vibrating in the room.’
      • ‘The steady buzz of machinery vibrated in Slaeter's ears as he awoke.’
      • ‘We passed a few teen agers hanging out in the driveway and then came upon a large front lawn where the sound of reggae music vibrating through the steamy summer night could be felt.’
      • ‘He could hear each string vibrating on the guitar, each tap of the drummer's foot.’
      • ‘They were like bats relying on the sounds vibrating off the room.’
      • ‘Traditional musical instruments include a bugle made from buffalo horn, a circular piece of iron with a string stretched across it that vibrates to produce sound, and a drum.’
      • ‘If a sound is truly voiced, that means that the vocal folds are vibrating during the sound itself.’
      • ‘Ryley was jolted by the power of the system and felt her inside vibrate to the sound of the bass.’
      • ‘The buildings in the centre of Sofia are of impressive proportions and it feels great to hear how they vibrate to the sound and how the music resonates against their windows.’
      • ‘With that, he opened the door and walked away, but not before he slammed it hard, resounding echoes of the loud thud vibrating into the room.’
      • ‘An object exposed to its resonant frequency will vibrate in sympathy with the sound.’
      • ‘Similarly, in hearing a sound emanate from an object, the object remains intact and the experience is of sound waves vibrating in the ear.’
      • ‘An object produces sound when it vibrates in matter.’
      • ‘A loud crackling sound vibrated through the hallway they were in and the bending of metal reached their ears.’
      • ‘The sitar also has resonator strings that vibrate harmonically with the main strings and adds sustain to the main strings by the same principle, aka feedback.’
      • ‘When you speak, air rushes from your lungs and makes your vocal cords vibrate, producing the sound of your voice.’
      • ‘Yet right from the start, there are moments when his mask of deference slips a notch - when his grin stretches a little too wide, or his laughter vibrates for a moment longer than expected.’
      • ‘As soon as the Hammond B - 3's internal organs began vibrating and that single sound came out, she was hooked.’
      • ‘As I opened my door, I heard the sound of my phone vibrating on the top of my dresser.’
      • ‘The floor was vibrating from the sound, I think.’
      throb, reverberate, pulsate, pulse, palpitate, resonate, resound, ring, echo, re-echo, boom, thunder, thump, pound, beat, drum, thud, thrum, hammer
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3no object (of a pendulum) swing to and fro.
      • ‘Imagine that you vibrate the pendulum up and down at a frequency of f.’
      • ‘Of course, since they'd seen about where it landed, all the dowsers moved in, sticks, wires, and pendula on the alert and vibrating, to help him find the gold.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘give out light or sound as if by vibration’): from Latin vibrat- ‘moved to and fro’, from the verb vibrare.