pe·​ri·​od·​ic | \ ˌpir-ē-ˈä-dik How to pronounce periodic (audio) \

Definition of periodic

1a : occurring or recurring at regular intervals
b : occurring repeatedly from time to time
2a : consisting of or containing a series of repeated stages, processes, or digits : cyclic periodic decimals a periodic vibration
b : being a function any value of which recurs at regular intervals
3 : expressed in or characterized by periodic sentences

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Examples of periodic in a Sentence

He takes the car in for periodic oil changes. sent out periodic reminders about the office dress code
Recent Examples on the Web The film capably, if expectedly, proceeds down this standard procedural path, progressing from investigation to trial, with periodic flourishes of genius from Pearce, having some campy fun as Van Meegeren. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Last Vermeer’ squanders Guy Pearce and high-stakes art forgery," 19 Nov. 2020 Baer’s specials are pledge-period winners for WTTW, among the most popular shows the station runs during the periodic direct fundraising that is central to its revenue model. Steve Johnson,, "Review: WTTW’s ‘Chicago from the Air’ gives a drone’s-eye view of the city, region," 18 Nov. 2020 The assessment is mandated by state housing law as part of the periodic process of updating local housing elements of the General Plan. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Housing grants announced for Encinitas, Oceanside," 16 Nov. 2020 Only a few, periodic clouds may pop up from time to time as dry air dominates, along with conditions that should remain rain-free. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Brighter and breezier today, after some early fog and drizzle," 13 Nov. 2020 And his parole comes with extensive restrictions, including a curfew, periodic check-ins and monthly fees. Connor Sheets |, al, "‘Just thankful’: 34-year-old Alabama cancer patient’s emotional journey from prison to early parole," 11 Nov. 2020 The government has imposed periodic lockdowns and curfews since the start of the pandemic. Omar Akour, Star Tribune, "Jordan holds parliamentary elections amid virus surge," 10 Nov. 2020 But Intel’s manufacturing has stumbled for the past several years, delaying the development of faster chips and causing periodic shortages. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Apple makes a big change to its new Mac computers. Here’s what you need to know," 10 Nov. 2020 Some observers blame this situation on periodic drought. Burke Griggs, The Conversation, "Farmers are depleting the Ogallala Aquifer because the government pays them to do it," 9 Nov. 2020

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

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for periodic

Time Traveler

The first known use of periodic was in 1650

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Statistics for periodic

Last Updated

24 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Periodic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for periodic


How to pronounce periodic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of periodic

: happening regularly over a period of time


pe·​ri·​od·​ic | \ ˌpir-ē-ˈä-dik How to pronounce periodic (audio) \

Kids Definition of periodic

: occurring regularly over a period of time


pe·​ri·​od·​ic | \ ˌpir-ē-ˈäd-ik How to pronounce periodic (audio) \

Medical Definition of periodic

: occurring or recurring at regular intervals periodic epidemics

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