life cycle


Definition of life cycle

1 : the series of stages in form and functional activity through which an organism passes between successive recurrences of a specified primary stage
3 : a series of stages through which something (such as an individual, culture, or manufactured product) passes during its lifetime

Examples of life cycle in a Sentence

the life cycle of a shark
Recent Examples on the Web As more complex organisms develop from the egg, their cells switch thousands of different genes on and off, and the switching continues throughout the organism's life cycle. Daniel C. Schlenoff, Scientific American, "50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: June 2020," 19 May 2020 The stage in a moth's life cycle are four: egg; caterpillar (the actively feeding stage); pupa a non-feeding stage while the caterpillar transforms into the adult); adult moth. oregonlive, "Need help deterring pests in the garden? Ask an expert," 2 May 2020 But other potential explanations abound, such as the potential role of climate change, which could be speeding up the Anisakis life cycle by warming the oceans. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Parasitic Worm Commonly Found in Sushi is Thriving in Nature," 4 Apr. 2020 Chamberland has been researching the stinknet’s life cycle and is working with master gardener programs for public outreach. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "It may look like a wildflower, but 'stinknet' is a menace to native plants and people," 26 Mar. 2020 Much of the European eel’s life cycle while out at sea remains a mystery. National Geographic, "European eel," 25 Mar. 2020 Target: new infections The final step in the virus' life cycle is infecting a new cell. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "COVID-19: the biology of an effective therapy," 20 Mar. 2020 As an example, Charlier’s seven-year-old daughter, a student at Nord Anglia, had a drama class tied to a science lesson about life cycles. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "With 290 million kids out of school, coronavirus is putting online learning to the test," 5 Mar. 2020 Inspectors observed German cockroaches in all life cycles at a Houston restaurant last week, according to health inspection records. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "German cockroaches, rodent droppings highlight restaurant violations for Jan. 6 to Jan. 12," 17 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'life 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 life cycle

1855, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of life cycle was in 1855

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Life cycle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for life cycle

life cycle


English Language Learners Definition of life cycle

biology : the series of stages through which a living thing passes from the beginning of its life until its death

life cycle


Medical Definition of life cycle

1 : the series of stages in form and functional activity through which an organism passes between successive recurrences of a specified primary stage

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More from Merriam-Webster on life cycle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with life cycle

Spanish Central: Translation of life cycle Encyclopedia article about life cycle

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