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

The resort also includes daily in-villa breakfast, an in-villa spa bath, private swimming pool, free WiFi, and cycles to explore the island with your reservation. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "There’s a Slide Attached to This Resort in The Maldives, And You Need To Go," 8 Apr. 2019 Perhaps no show has seemed a more of a prescient prism of the cycle of gender-inflected politics than Veep. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Anna Chlumsky: Veep Was Never a Show About Feminism. And It Was Always a Show About Feminism.," 29 Mar. 2019 The latter is not based on celestial occurrences, but instead the annual temperature cycle and the 12-month calendar. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "What Exactly Is the Spring Equinox?," 19 Mar. 2019 Traditionally, the bug bash signals the end of the development cycle, but this may be just an early run, to try and nip the last-minute bugs that nagged the Oct. 2018 Update. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft separates Cortana from search in new Windows 10 preview build," 16 Jan. 2019 Coming up, it's being called one of the nastiest campaign ads of this cycle. Fox News, "Sen. Lindsey Graham: I want Ford to be heard," 18 Sep. 2018 This past election cycle, Stefanik served as the first female recruitment chair of the NRCC. Rebecca Gale, Marie Claire, "Elise Stefanik Is Going to Bring Women Back to the GOP," 25 Mar. 2019 In other words, organizations typically send all clean-up straight to the bin (a better alternative than leaving it, but still perpetuating the cycle of waste). Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "Herbal Essences Is Repackaging Several of Its Shampoos & Conditioners in Eco-Friendly Bottles," 15 Mar. 2019 Some mats are hand-washable in cold water and mild soap, while others can be cleaned in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Exactly How to Clean Your Yoga Mat," 6 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As the video above demonstrates, the new map also has allowed planetary scientists to determine the thickness of the Martian crust and measure the amount of material that cycles between the poles with the changes of the seasons. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "New Map of Mars' Gravity Reveals Its Molten Outer Core," 21 Mar. 2016 Through it all, members of the public who obtained tickets lined up outside the hearing room, the Senate’s largest, and were cycled in and out by the Capitol police. Byron Tau, WSJ, "Kavanaugh Hearing: Not for Children, but Hottest Ticket in Town," 7 Sep. 2018 Celebrities cycled through nearly every other shade of the rainbow possible, including bold pink, purple, and even yellow, over the past couple of years. Devon Abelman, Allure, "How to Achieve the Bold Green Hair-Color Trend Like a Celebrity," 29 Aug. 2018 The Islamic State group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a car-and-knife attack on Western tourists cycling in Tajikistan that killed two Americans and two Europeans. Maria Danilova, Fox News, "IS claims Tajikistan attack that killed 4 foreign cyclists," 31 July 2018 However, the facilities also lack the ability to cycle in fresh air, making the air stale and moldy. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Million People Live Underground in Beijing's Fallout Shelters," 23 May 2017 That interaction began a night in which the woman cycled through an ambulance, a hospital emergency room and a van to the city sleep-off center. Anchorage Daily News, "An endless loop: Homeless, alcoholic and dependent on Anchorage’s fraying and expensive safety net," 20 Jan. 2016 When the orbital influences cycled back, the planet returned to a glacial state. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers suggest we could tip into a hothouse Earth—here’s what that means," 10 Aug. 2018 The handicapping challenge is to predict which horse is cycling up — that is, which one is going to improve and maybe even run his best race. Joe Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Justify goes for Triple Crown, but is he worth the wager?," 6 June 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.

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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

23 Apr 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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