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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are still a few technical hurdles to overcome, such as increasing the number of charging cycles an aqueous battery can handle. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "Scientists Made a Nearly Invincible Lithium-Ion Battery," 10 Jan. 2020 Losing sleep, or having disordered sleep in which sleep cycles are disrupted, can interfere with the brain's ability to clean up. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Losing one night's sleep may increase risk factor for Alzheimer's, study says," 9 Jan. 2020 Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week was driven in part by a desire to break the tit-for-tat cycle by using a major act of retaliation to deter future attacks. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "'Too soon to declare victory': Lawmaker says Iran may instigate future attacks against US," 9 Jan. 2020 But his erratic approach–provoking an escalation cycle while simultaneously making clear his aversion to conflict–only increased Tehran’s appetite for risk. Karim Sadjadpour, Time, "Why the U.S. Assassination of Soleimani is a Windfall for Iran's Mullahs," 9 Jan. 2020 The 24x7 news cycle means candidates always have to be camera ready. CBS News, "Elizabeth Warren never washes her face, and other 2020 skincare routines," 9 Jan. 2020 That was Urban Meyer’s last recruiting cycle before retiring again and handing the program over to Will Muschamp. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Could Alabama’s 2017 signing class be best ever?," 7 Jan. 2020 His departure means that 2020 will be just one of three presidential cycles in the last half-century without a Texan. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Castro endorses Warren, 5 things to watch in 2020, McKinney’s rockin’ mayor," 7 Jan. 2020 The group has also never really left over the past decade -- while most artists disappear momentarily in-between album cycles, Levine is still on TV while Maroon 5 may be in the studio. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Five Burning Questions: Billboard Staffers Discuss Maroon 5's Climb to No. 2 With 'Memories'," 7 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb From our rental house in the town of Bovec, Dad was driving us to shadow my husband, Pierre, who was cycling up Slovenia’s highest road pass (5,285 feet). Washington Post, "Once war-torn, Slovenia has become a green retreat," 27 Nov. 2019 Steinbrenner cycled through managers at a pace never seen before. Allan Smith, NBC News, "All the president's Yankees: How Trump's decadeslong affair with the team foreshadowed his presidency," 19 Oct. 2019 The Bears and Vikings will continue to be plagued by inept kickers and will cycle through at least two during the season. The Mmqb Staff, SI.com, "NFL Bold Predictions: Playoff Longshots, Teams at Home in January, Coaches to Watch," 5 Sep. 2019 As glacial stage 6 cycled through its relatively warmer and colder phases, the seas rose and fell, and the ancient coastline advanced and retreated. Curtis W. Marean, Scientific American, "When the Sea Saved Humanity," 1 Nov. 2012 For many years, Harter would see upticks in his programs every few years as his roster grew older, but then a downturn of sorts once larger classes cycled out because of eligibility. Matt Jones, Arkansas Online, "Not slowing down: As he approaches 70, UA women’s track and cross country coach sets standards in multiple sports," 25 Dec. 2019 Others, like Chandler Shepherd, Tom Eshelman, and Ty Blach, didn’t make the grade and were cycled back off the roster. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "How the Orioles’ offseason moves so far can help their development goals in 2020," 6 Nov. 2019 Suddenly a mostly atmospheric piece attained new urgency and forward motion, then cycled back to the oscillating motifs of the start. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO’s MusicNOW review: Welcome new sounds from Eliza Brown and Wang Lu," 8 Oct. 2019 Once in the environment, PCBs aren’t readily broken down and can cycle between air, water and soil for decades and can be carried long distances. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Seattle police officer assigned to clean up homeless camps files $10 million claim, alleges polluted site made him sick," 19 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for cycle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cycle

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cycle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cycles. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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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

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Comments on cycle

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