epicycle

noun
epi·​cy·​cle | \ ˈe-pə-ˌsī-kəl How to pronounce epicycle (audio) \

Definition of epicycle

1 in Ptolemaic astronomy : a circle in which a planet moves and which has a center that is itself carried around at the same time on the circumference of a larger circle
2 : a process going on within a larger one

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from epicycle

epicyclic \ ˌe-​pə-​ˈsī-​klik How to pronounce epicyclic (audio) , -​ˈsi-​klik \ adjective

Examples of epicycle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In order to reconcile circular orbits with actual planetary behavior, Copernicus continued the tradition, developed by Ptolemy, of arguing that planets spin on wheels, known as epicycles. National Geographic, "Copernicus's revolutionary ideas reorganized the heavens," 9 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epicycle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of epicycle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for epicycle

Middle English epicicle, from Late Latin epicyclus, from Greek epikyklos, from epi- + kyklos circle — more at wheel

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about epicycle

Statistics for epicycle

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for epicycle

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

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on epicycle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epicycle

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epicycle

Comments on epicycle

What made you want to look up epicycle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!