Part of speech:
(Like “sleep,” “skydive,” and “succeed,” all intransitive verbs show complete action on their own and do not do action to an object. You sleep, you skydive, you succeed, and that’s it. You don’t “sleep a bed,” “skydive a plane,” or “succeed a plan”.
Likewise, something or someone vacillates.)
When you vacillate, you change your mind or change your opinion a lot. Something that vacillates is changing back and forth in a random way.
vacillated, vacillating, vacillation
How to use it:
Talk about someone vacillating on something or vacillating over something, as in "Josh kept vacillating on what to order at dinner" (or "Josh kept vacillating over..."). You can vacillate between or among things, as in "Josh was vacillating between the chicken and the steak," or "Josh was vacillating among the chicken, the steak, and the pancakes." Use "vacillating" as a noun, as in "Vacillating is so annoying," or as an adjective, as in "Her vacillating preferences made it hard for her to stick to a routine." Of course, it can be things and not just people that vacillate, as in "Amazon.com vacillates between wowing me with its customer service and irritating me with creepily specific advertisements and suggestions."
Thank goodness I can shop online. In the store, looking at something I want, I consider, pause, stare, read the package, calculate, vacillate, and generally annoy my companions.
I quit reading the articles on a particular site because the once-lively content took a dive and has been vacillating between depressing and violent.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "vacillate" means when you can explain it without saying "fluctuate" or "keep changing."
Think of the last time it was really hard for you to make a decision, and fill in the blanks: “When it was time to _____, I vacillated for awhile between _____ and _____.”
Example: “When it was time to plan for the winter holidays, I vacillated for awhile between staying home and making the long but rewarding trip to see the extended family.”
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "guess the common word based on the given literal root meanings." Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. It can be fun and illuminating to see the literal meanings of words when they came into the language! More than one right answer might be possible in some cases, just so you know. Also, it's okay if you can't come up with most or even any of the answers on your own; just check out the solutions and you'll learn the roots as you go along this month.
“out of” + “lead” + “noun of action” = ?
Try this one today:
"back" + "carry" = ?
A Point Well Made:
Elbert Hubbard: "One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man."
1. The opposite of VACILLATE is
2. If you keep vacillating over whether to apply for this job, then _____.
A. you'll be perceived as a more valuable contender for it.
B. someone else might snag it before you do.
C. you'll discover more pertinent details about it, such as the exact pay rate.
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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