cycle

noun
cy·​cle | \ˈsī-kəl \

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

b : ring sense 10

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

6a : bicycle

b : tricycle

c : motorcycle

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 \

Definition of cycle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to pass through a cycle

b : to recur in cycles

2 : to ride a cycle specifically : bicycle

transitive verb

: to cause to go through a cycle

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cycle

Verb

cycler \ ˈsī-​k(ə-​)lər \ noun

Synonyms for cycle

Synonyms: Noun

aeon (or eon), age, blue moon, coon's age, donkey's years [chiefly British], eternity, forever, long, months, moon

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

One of the candidates 314 Action has worked with this election cycle is Sawyer, the engineer running for a state House seat in Houston. David Yaffe-bellany, star-telegram, "As Trump backlash continues, STEM professionals in Texas run for office," 12 July 2018 Long On Luck makes his third start of the form cycle for trainer Norman McKnight. Scott Shapiro, The Courier-Journal, "Twinspires.com's free expert pick for Friday at Churchill Downs," 28 June 2018 The regular season is a distant memory, the league’s story has already shifted from the Finals to the draft, and free-agency rumors will be dominating news cycles for the next month. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "From Sixth Man to MVP: James Harden Reflects on Steady Climb to NBA Mountain Top," 26 June 2018 The indoor grow cycle for medical marijuana generally takes about three to five months. Randy Tucker, Cincinnati.com, "When will medical weed be available in Ohio?," 25 June 2018 The 2020 date marks the beginning of a two-year cycle for the games, which has been an annual event since 2016. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Harry Just Announced the Location for the 2020 Invictus Games (While on His Honeymoon!)," 4 June 2018 Ohio State has cherry picked from its home state under Urban Meyer, going after the top few prospects each cycle. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football is rebuilding its recruiting pipeline in Ohio. Here's why.," 12 July 2018 There is potential in college hoops to remake a roster overnight (or in one recruiting cycle), and a six-scholarship class provides that opportunity for Mack. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "U of L Insider: Why the next few weeks are vital for Chris Mack, Cards," 9 July 2018 Some that aren’t good enough to qualify in one cycle may be primed for a deep run only four years later. Brian Straus, SI.com, "The Factors and Figures Behind Europe's World Cup Dominance Trend," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Four coaches cycled through town in McPhee’s final nine seasons in the Beltway, not to mention a revolving door of right wingers deployed alongside Ovechkin and Backstrom. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "How the Roster Decisions of Golden Knights GM George McPhee Color the Stanley Cup Final," 28 May 2018 Detroit Youth Cycling Camps Youth, ages 3-17, who want to learn how to cycle and race on an indoor bicycle track can do so for free at this summer cycling camp offering weekly sessions through Aug. 30. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, "Things to do in metro Detroit for the week of July 8 and beyond," 9 July 2018 While cycling enthusiasts rhapsodized about the safety bicycle’s benefits for riders of both sexes and all ages, doctors fretted that many of their patients would be harmed by the new machines. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Wheel, the Woman, and the Human Body," 6 July 2018 Living in an age of constant supervision and hyperspecialization means organized racing is probably the best way for your kid to find a community of cycling peers. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "Ball Sports Are Overrated. Get Your Kid Biking Instead.," 21 June 2018 Earlier this month, Israel became the first non-European country to host stages of the Giro d’Italia cycling event. Washington Post, "Israel calls on EU to end funding to pro-boycott groups," 25 May 2018 To the untrained eye, watching this week's Amgen Tour of California — or any team cycling race on the international circuit — would seem straightforward. latimes.com, "Today: Mueller’s First Year," 17 May 2018 There will also be cycling apparel for all riders and thousands of accessories. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More than 2,000 bikes will be for sale at Wheel & Sprocket's Bike Expo Sale in West Allis," 2 Apr. 2018 There will be 176 riders total from countries all over the world including five Americans cycling in the 2018 Tour de France. Gina Martinez, Time, "Your Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Tour de France," 6 July 2018

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

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

Verb

see cycle entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cycle

Statistics for cycle

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cycle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cycle

cycle

noun

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

: a bicycle or motorcycle

cycle

verb

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

: 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 \

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 \

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 , ˈsik-​li-​ \ adjective
cyclically \ -​k(ə-​)lē \ also cyclicly \ ˈsī-​kli-​klē, ˈsik-​li-​ \ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on cycle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cycle

Spanish Central: Translation of cycle

Nglish: Translation of cycle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cycle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cycle

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

something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!