cycle

noun
cy·​cle | \ ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio) \

Definition of cycle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an interval of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events or phenomena is completed a 4-year cycle of growth and development
2a : a course or series of events or operations that recur regularly and usually lead back to the starting point … the common cycle of birth, growth, senescence, and death.— T. C. Schneirla and Gerard Piel
b : one complete performance of a vibration, electric oscillation, current alternation, or other periodic process
c : a permutation of a set of ordered elements in which each element takes the place of the next and the last becomes first
d : a takeoff and landing of an airplane
3 : a circular or spiral arrangement: such as
a : an imaginary circle or orbit in the heavens
4 : a long period of time : age
5a : a group of creative works (such as poems, plays, or songs) treating the same theme a cycle of poems about unrequited love
b : a series of narratives dealing typically with the exploits of a legendary hero the Arthurian cycle
7 : the series of a single, double, triple, and home run hit in any order by one player during one baseball game

cycle

verb
cycled; cycling\ ˈsī-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce cycling (audio) \

Definition of cycle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to pass through a cycle The menu cycles through all the options. Because the traditional HVAC system cycles on and off—and is powered down when you leave—relief is inconsistent at best.— Sarah Littleton
b : to recur in cycles Freezing temperatures … aren't the problem. It's when temperatures cycle between freezing and thaws, causing pavement to contract and expand … that can create larger issues.— Jonathan Oosting
2 : to ride a cycle specifically : bicycle She cycles to work.

transitive verb

: to cause to go through a cycle The fact that it [the pump] runs constantly may be a bad sign. It may be cycling the water, not removing it.Popular Mechanics Everything is constantly cycled in nature. There is abundant waste in nature, just as there is in industry, but in nature waste constantly flows back into living systems.— Paul Hawken and William McDonough

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cycle

Verb

cycler \ ˈsī-​k(ə-​)lər How to pronounce cycler (audio) \ noun

Examples of cycle in a Sentence

Noun We have to wait for the dishwasher's wash and dry cycles to end. the spin cycle on a washing machine He rode his cycle into town. Verb The water is cycled back into the system after it has been used. The water cycles back into the system.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Munster joins many Apple supporters in predicting that the introduction of its new 5G iPhone will launch a new super-cycle for expansion. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Investors are treating Apple like a growth stock. But the math doesn’t add up.," 31 July 2020 In the future, deepfake videos and audiofakes may well be used to create distinct, sensational moments that commandeer a press cycle, or to distract from some other, more organic scandal. Renee Diresta, Wired, "AI-Generated Text Is the Scariest Deepfake of All," 31 July 2020 Instead of using a hot wash cycle, Clarke prefers to kill any germs by using the hottest temperature on her dryer. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Is It Safe To Thrift Shop Amid The Pandemic?," 31 July 2020 And faith, these days, is easily swung by a volatile news cycle. Danny Chau, The Atlantic, "The NBA’s Florida Bubble Follows an Age-Old Historical Model," 30 July 2020 Bezos's, Cook's, Zuckerberg's, and Pichai's testimonies, given via video link, come less than 100 days before the 2020 general elections, a cycle marred by free speech and misinformation complications. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Big Tech faces off with congressional critics during House antitrust hearing," 29 July 2020 Forecasters also closely monitor a weather cycle called the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to predict how the Atlantic hurricane season will shake out. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Conditions are ripe for a major Atlantic hurricane in 2020," 28 July 2020 Krishna Jackson, public affairs officer for Naval Base San Diego, told NBC San Diego that the ship had undergone a regular maintenance cycle before the fire was reported. NBC News, "21 reported injured after fire aboard military ship in San Diego," 12 July 2020 Kanye West's announcement about his intention to run for president has come amid a new cycle in the rapper's struggle with his bipolar disorder, a source tells PEOPLE. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Kanye West Is 'Struggling' with Bipolar Disorder as Rapper Says He Wants to Be President: Source," 9 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Commercial airlines use industrial-strength HEPA filters and planes cycle new air in and out of the craft every two to three minutes. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "COVID-19 has blown up air travel for nearly four months. The next four could shape it even more.," 5 July 2020 In villages like Chuathbaluk, teachers often quickly cycle through, disappearing after a year or two. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "The teacher who returned to the rural Alaska village where she was abused is not staying silent," 6 June 2020 Then, as additional layers were added on top, temperatures in the crystalline layer would cycle back up, inducing the precipitation of the nickel-titanium particles. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Can you 3D print Damascus steel? Pretty much, yeah," 24 June 2020 In villages like Chuathbaluk, teachers often quickly cycle through, disappearing after a year or two. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "The teacher who returned to the rural Alaska village where she was abused is not staying silent," 6 June 2020 Meanwhile, other swarms that in recent weeks have feasted in India and Pakistan — especially Punjab and Sindh provinces — could cycle through the region. NBC News, "A plague amid a pandemic: East Africa, West Asia combat surging locust outbreak," 31 Mar. 2020 Roberts could cycle players through the spot to maximize favorable matchups and rest. Los Angeles Times, "Why a coronavirus-shortened MLB season could lead to a National League DH rule," 14 June 2020 Additionally, Rossi had to cycle around a second time after speeding through pit lane. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Honda drivers' pre-race setback due to social distancing rule that kept engine techs off grid," 9 June 2020 In villages like Chuathbaluk, teachers often quickly cycle through, disappearing after a year or two. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "The teacher who returned to the rural Alaska village where she was abused is not staying silent," 6 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cycle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cycle

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1842, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for cycle

Noun and Verb

Middle English cicle, from Late Latin cyclus, from Greek kyklos circle, wheel, cycle — more at wheel

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cycle

Time Traveler for cycle

Time Traveler

The first known use of cycle was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for cycle

Last Updated

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cycle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cycle. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cycle

cycle

noun
How to pronounce cycle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cycle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a set of events or actions that happen again and again in the same order : a repeating series of events or actions
: a set of regular and repeated actions that are done by a machine as part of a longer process
chiefly British : a bicycle or motorcycle

cycle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cycle (Entry 2 of 2)

US : to go through a repeated process or to cause (something) to go through a repeated process
: to ride a bicycle

cycle

noun
cy·​cle | \ ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio) \

Kids Definition of cycle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a period of time taken up by a series of events or actions that repeat themselves again and again in the same order the cycle of the seasons
2 : a complete round or series The dishwasher started its drying cycle.

cycle

verb
cycled; cycling

Kids Definition of cycle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to ride a bicycle or motorcycle

cycle

noun
cy·​cle | \ ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio) \

Medical Definition of cycle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a recurring series of events: as
a(1) : a series of stages through which an organism tends to pass once in a fixed order the common cycle of birth, growth, senescence and death— T. C. Schneirla & Gerard Piel also : a series of stages through which a population of organisms tends to pass more or less in synchrony the mosquito-hatching cycle — see life cycle
(2) : a series of physiological, biochemical, or psychological stages that recur in the same individual — see cardiac cycle, menstrual cycle krebs cycle
b : one complete performance of a vibration, electric oscillation, current alternation, or other periodic process
c : a series of ecological stages through which a substance tends to pass and which usually but not always leads back to the starting point the cycle of nitrogen in the living world

Other Words from cycle

cyclic \ ˈsī-​klik also ˈsik-​lik \ or cyclical \ ˈsī-​kli-​kəl How to pronounce cyclical (audio) , ˈsik-​li-​ How to pronounce cyclical (audio) \ adjective
cyclically \ -​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce cyclically (audio) \ also cyclicly \ ˈsī-​kli-​klē, ˈsik-​li-​ How to pronounce cyclicly (audio) \ adverb
cycled; cycling

Medical Definition of cycle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to undergo the estrous cycle the mare has begun cycling

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on cycle

What made you want to look up cycle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!