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

At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton used the notion of metamorphosis — as in the life cycle of scarab beetles and butterflies that begin as one thing and end up as something quite different — as a way of exploring hybrid dressing. Adam Tschorn,, "Paris Fashion Week trend takeaway: pops of purple, silver belles, giant jackets, winter florals and haute hybrids," 9 Mar. 2018 Rain is necessary at this point in the plant’s life cycle as the plants produce pollen on the tassel, according to Rose. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Harford corn crop delayed by spring rain, challenged by summer heat," 9 July 2018 The parasites that cause malaria set up a complex life cycle in the human body. NBC News, "These volunteers want to get malaria. The goal? A better vaccine.," 15 June 2018 Sprague added that the district focuses on products and systems with a long life cycle. Lindsay Peyton, Houston Chronicle, "Summer means construction for Cy-Fair ISD," 25 May 2018 The reservoir, however, is experiencing a conflicting life cycle — loaded with some of the healthiest residents in its history at a time when an abundance of baitfish demands a re-adjustment of its hearty, historical expectations. Bryce Miller,, "Wildly-popular Lake Barrett adjusting its bass-catching expectations," 26 Apr. 2018 But ecologists suspected fire suppression was disrupting natural life cycles. New York Times, "Setting Fires and Restoring an American Landscape," 23 Apr. 2018 The water in the tanks will be cooled to 59 degrees, and slowly transition from freshwater to saltwater to mimic the salmon's natural life cycle. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "Salmon from sunny South Florida? Norwegian firm builds Florida farm for cold-water fish," 11 Apr. 2018 Mei Xiang will turn 20 this month and is near the end of her reproductive life cycle, the zoo said last year, but pregnancy was still possible for her. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "No giant panda cub this year, National Zoo announces," 5 July 2018

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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Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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The first known use of life cycle was in 1855

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

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