v. vi·brat·ed, vi·brat·ing, vi·brates
a. To move back and forth or to and fro, especially rhythmically and rapidly: The eardrum vibrates in response to sound waves. See Synonyms at swing.
b. To progress in a given direction while moving back and forth rapidly: The sound wave vibrated through the water.
2. To be in a state of great activity, excitement, or agitation: “Even as the film moved … to the more deadly fields of Vietnam, old hatreds vibrated in me” (Loudon Wainwright).
3. To produce a sound; resonate: “The noise of cars and motorcycles, voices and music vibrates from the street” (Edmundo Paz Solden).
4. To fluctuate or waver, as between states or in making choices: “The fear of repetition and the lure of repetition: these are the two poles between which the movie vibrates” (Wendy Lesser).
1. To cause to move back and forth rapidly: The rattlesnake vibrated its tail.
2. To produce (sound) by vibration.
A setting on a cellphone that causes the it to shake rapidly without producing a ringtone when a call or text message is received.
[Latin vibrāre, vibrāt-; see weip- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
vibra·tive, vibra·to′ry (-brə-tôr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.