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

In addition to the periodic IPCC reports assessing the latest in climate science, nations wanted some specific reports focused on topics that hadn’t really been covered before. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "New IPCC report shows land use is part of solution to climate change," 8 Aug. 2019 Since then, A$AP Rocky’s team has been in contact with the White House, giving periodic updates and making requests. Maria Pasquini,, "Person Involved in A$AP Rocky Street Altercation Is No Longer Suspected of Any Crime," 22 July 2019 Trump ended family separations with an executive order in July 2018 after bipartisan outrage among the public and lawmakers, though there have been periodic reports that the practice continues less systematically. Alex Wayne / Bloomberg, Time, "President Trump Falsely Claims Obama Began Migrant Family Separations," 23 June 2019 If a judge grants the guardianship, periodic reports are required by the court in order to continue the guardianship, Roth said. Adam Ferrise,, "Family struggled to find mental-health services for Cleveland woman accused of beating mother to death with hammer," 17 June 2019 Additionally, the trustees voiced support for allowing homeowners to rent out a room in the house on a short-term basis as long as the owner lives on the premises, along with backing new licensing and periodic safety inspection requirements. Alexandra Kukulka,, "Northbrook leans toward prohibiting short-term home rentals, regulating room leasing," 30 July 2019 But periodic volleys with Mr. Trump aside, Warren has shown a striking ability to stay out of the fray. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: What to look for at tonight's debate," 30 July 2019 What has opened the door for the pair is the Macri administration’s luckless handling of its economic overhaul, propelling Argentina into yet another one of the periodic busts that have plagued the country for more than a century. Washington Post, "Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, facing corruption allegations, mounts unlikely comeback," 29 July 2019 There’s another category of objects to worry about, though: long-periodic comets that swing through our solar system so infrequently that astronomers haven’t mapped them yet. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "A “city-killing” asteroid just zipped by Earth. Why didn’t we see it coming?," 26 July 2019

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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Statistics for periodic

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for periodic

The first known use of periodic was in 1650

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More Definitions for periodic



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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More from Merriam-Webster on periodic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for periodic

Spanish Central: Translation of periodic

Nglish: Translation of periodic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of periodic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on periodic

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marked by turns or indirection

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