transitive verb down·cy·cle \ ˈdau̇n-ˌsī-kəl \

Definition of downcycle

downcycled; downcycling; downcycles
: to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a lower value than the original item : to create an object of lesser value from (a discarded object of higher value)
  • Other companies that claim to recycle carpet actually “downcycle” it, taking used carpet, chopping it up, and reusing it in lower-grade products such as carpet backing.
  • —Hunter L. Lovins and Amory B. LovinsForum for Applied Research and Public Policy22 Dec. 2000
— compare upcycle


    • Traditional recycling is sometimes described as downcycling because the quality of the material degrades with each life cycle. Recycled paper isn't as nice as newly printed paper; recycled steel isn't as strong as newly forged steel.
    • —Paul McFedriesIEEE SpectrumOctober 2008

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First Known Use of downcycle


down cycle

variants: or less commonly downcycle

Definition of down cycle

plural down cycles also downcycles
: a cycle or part of a cycle marked by decline, decrease, or deterioration: such as
a : a period of economic contraction
  • Companies that dominate the market place almost like monopolies can be reasonably sure of protecting revenues as well as margins even in an economic downcycle.
  • —Ramkrishna KashlekarEconomic Times27 May 2010
b : a period during which something (such as a rate, price, or stock value) decreases
  • Commercial real estate moves in cycles, and this down cycle is likely to be shallow and short-lived.
  • —Justin DonaldsonWashington Post5 Aug. 2013
c : a period of decreased or decreasing success, popularity, or availability
  • They were slow to move on from older players when their 1970s dynasty came to an end. That, along with some poor drafts, led to a down cycle for the franchise that produced just four appearances and two playoff victories in the 1980s.
  • —Ray FittipaldoPittsburgh-Post Gazette19 Oct. 2014
  • No position values experience quite like catching, and a down cycle of young catchers has kept older backstops working.
  • —Tom VerducciSports Illustrated15 Mar. 2010
— compare up cycle

First Known Use of down cycle


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to lower or disgrace the reputation of

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