Definition of circadian
- circadian rhythms in activity
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circadian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Just over fifty years ago, no one talked about "circadian rhythms" - because "circadian" hadn't even been coined yet. In 1959, a scientist formed the word from the Latin words circa ("about") and "dies" ("day"), and it caught on quickly. "Circadian" appeared in periodicals throughout the sixties, and appeared in a Merriam-Webster dictionary before the decade was up. Most often, it's seen and heard in the term "circadian rhythm," which refers to the inherent cycle of about 24 hours that appears to control various biological processes, such as sleep, wakefulness, and digestive activity. If you want to impress your friends, you can also use the term "circadian dysrhythmia," a fancy synonym of "jet lag."
: relating to the regular changes in a person or thing that happen in 24-hour periods
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