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
6a : bicycle
b : tricycle
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

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Other Words from cycle

Verb

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

Synonyms for cycle

Synonyms: Noun

circle, merry-go-round, round, wheel, zodiac

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lawmakers must choose to break the cycle of neglect and revitalize a community that has waited far too long for promises made to become promises kept. L.j. Jennings, The Mercury News, "A’s move from Coliseum would be insult to East Oakland residents," 9 Aug. 2019 The grace of those family members helped break the cycle of violence and cure the infection. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, "Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The epidemic of gun violence is treatable," 6 Aug. 2019 In a vicious cycle, the ensuing isolation and rumination can exacerbate other symptoms, including those causing the withdrawal. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "Can an Illusory World Help Treat Psychosis’s Real-World Delusions?," 2 Aug. 2019 Based on students receiving Chinese government support—and very early in the application cycle—the ministry reported that 13.5% of 182 applicants had been denied visas in the first quarter of the year. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "China’s scientists alarmed, bewildered by growing anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States," 31 July 2019 Foreign policy is the most important subject no one really talks about This may all sound like a foreign policy reporter pleading for more world affairs coverage in the 2020 election cycle. Alex Ward, Vox, "The case for more foreign policy in the 2020 debates," 30 July 2019 In response, another capitalist would build a factory to provide these consumer goods and factory widgets, in a virtuous cycle. John Broich, The Conversation, "The difference between ‘left’ and ‘liberal’ – and why voters need to know," 30 July 2019 Every player will then be able to control exactly where that money goes in the next grant cycle. Grace Connatser, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Bucks Foundation announces over $300,000 in grants to 15 community organizations," 25 July 2019 Children from Los Angeles to New York to South Dallas who struggle to break the cycle of poverty. Dallas News, "How this Texas college gives every single student help with trauma, mental health," 6 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This former student has cycled in and out of treatment centers (for eating disorders, suicidality, etc.). Amy Dickinson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ask Amy: Teacher considers housing former student," 27 June 2019 One man slowed cycling traffic and others guided first responders, who were unsure of how to reach the cycling path from the road. Andrew Kenney, The Denver Post, "Head-on bike collision on Denver’s Cherry Creek Trail renews talk about speed and safety," 26 June 2019 The application to host the ProSeries cycling event in Inner Harbor was submitted on June 1 to USA Cycling. Brittany Brown, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore courting professional cycling race for Inner Harbor," 7 June 2019 There’s never any shortage of gossip in the week leading up to July 31, but for all the stars who cycle through the mill, most end up staying put or were never available at all. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Ranking the 10 Best Players Likely to Move by the MLB Trade Deadline," 26 July 2019 Only a handful of players remain from the two dozen guys who cycled through last season’s 19-win debacle. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Phoenix Suns' summer upheaval wasn't splashy, but was constructive," 3 July 2019 Margaret Armiger, a Conservative councillor, described her father, in the early days of the Second World War, cycling more than a hundred miles to find a job at the steelworks. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Death of British Steel and the Myth of the Good Brexit," 10 July 2019 But the buzz wore off as losses continued and the company cycled through chief executives. Erin Griffith, New York Times, "A Unicorn Lost in the Valley, Evernote Blows Up the ‘Fail Fast’ Gospel," 28 June 2019 The club has not found a solution to its fifth spot and has cycled through pitchers from Triple-A Reno to the bullpen. Jenna Ortiz, azcentral, "Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver's latest MRI reveals good news," 24 June 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for cycle

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cycle

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

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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
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

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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

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