cycle

1 of 2

noun

cy·​cle ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio)
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
2
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
6
7
: the series of a single, double, triple, and home run hit in any order by one player during one baseball game

cycle

2 of 2

verb

cycled; cycling ˈsī-k(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce cycle (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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
cycler 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy, can help address some of the bigger underlying problems that make poor hygiene such a hard cycle to break, Bigaouette said. Anna Gibbs, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 May 2024 One was to really be mindful of my circadian rhythms; controlling our sleep-wake cycles are very important. Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for cycle 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cycle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Verb

derivative of cycle entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1842, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near cycle

Cite this Entry

“Cycle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cycle. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

cycle

1 of 2 noun
cy·​cle ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio)
1
: a period of time taken up by a series of events or actions that repeat themselves regularly and in the same order
the cycle of the seasons
2
a
: a series of events or operations that happen again and again regularly and usually lead back to the starting point
the cycle of blood from the heart, through the blood vessels, and back again
the drying cycle of a dishwasher
b
: one complete occurrence of a cycle
a cycle of alternating current
the cycle of a vibration
3
: a long period of time : age
cyclic
ˈsī-klik
 also  ˈsik-lik
adjective
or cyclical
ˈsī-kli-kəl,
ˈsik-li-
cyclically
-k(ə-)lē
adverb

cycle

2 of 2 verb
cy·​cle
ˈsī-kəl,
ˈsik-əl
cycled; cycling
ˈsī-k(ə-)liŋ,
ˈsik(-ə)-liŋ
: to ride a bicycle or motorcycle

Medical Definition

cycle

1 of 2 noun
cy·​cle ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio)
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 deathT. 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
2
cyclic
ˈsī-klik also ˈsik-lik
adjective
cyclically adverb

cycle

2 of 2 intransitive verb
cycled; cycling
: to undergo the estrous cycle
the mare has begun cycling

More from Merriam-Webster on cycle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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