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epicycle

play
noun epi·cy·cle \ˈe-pə-ˌsī-kəl\

Definition of epicycle

  1. 1 in Ptolemaic astronomy :  a circle in which a planet moves and which has a center that is itself carried around at the same time on the circumference of a larger circle

  2. 2 :  a process going on within a larger one

epi·cy·clic play \ˌe-pə-ˈsī-klik, -ˈsi-klik\ adjective


Origin of epicycle

Middle English epicicle, from Late Latin epicyclus, from Greek epikyklos, from epi- + kyklos circle — more at wheel


First Known Use: 14th century


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