I understand that you say hesitate in the moral context. But what is the difference between oscillation and fluctuation? Might be you could contrast these with swinging. Is there any difference when to use which?

closed as off-topic by Robusto, Matt E. Эллен, user66974, Kris, choster Jun 16 '14 at 18:22

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    As you could see by consulting a dictionary, oscillate differs from fluctuate usually in the sense that oscillate implies a regular, measured, reciprocal change (though some people use it less strictly than that); fluctuate just implies a more random kind of change. See also vacillate. – Robusto Jun 16 '14 at 11:53
  • @Robusto The key difference lies in 'reciprocal.' – Kris Jun 16 '14 at 13:25

Something that oscillates repeats a pattern of motion in a regular rhythm, e.g. a pendulum swinging, a spring after it has been compressed or released.

Something that fluctuates is observed to change, but irregularly in magnitude or direction (and does not necessarily have both an observable magnitude and direction) e.g. demand, trade, mood

  • That much homework should have been done by the asker. Every question is expected to have supporting background effort. This question is thus GR. – Kris Jun 16 '14 at 13:23

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