pe·​ri·​od·​ic | \ˌpir-ē-ˈä-dik \

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 department's national laboratories would continue to function normally for some period of time because they are run by contractors who receive periodic payments from the DOE to fund operations. Lauren Morello, Scientific American, "What a U.S. Government Shutdown Would Mean for Science," 18 Jan. 2018 The program made periodic trips to the Henley regatta and, in 1985, was invited to compete in China. David Wharton,, "Orange Coast crew takes on sport's royalty at Henley regatta in England," 28 June 2018 Amid the profound problems facing Mexico, matters of international relations can seem abstract and remote to many voters, and Mr. Trump’s periodic attacks can feel irrelevant. New York Times, "Why Is Trump ‘Not Important’ in Mexico Election? All Candidates Are Against Him," 3 June 2018 Are there other things, aside from these periodic trips, that you guys indulge in to help mitigate the information overload? Celia Ellenberg, Vogue, "Proenza Schouler Just Launched Its First Fragrance—Here’s What You Need to Know," 19 Jan. 2018 Apple's open-source engagement is mixed; some of its open-source efforts (such as the WebKit rendering engine) are run in an open way, but others are delivered only as periodic code dumps, with all development handled in house. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Everyone complaining about Microsoft buying GitHub needs to offer a better solution," 4 June 2018 Cummings said prosecutors would also work with the department to obtain such information on a periodic basis moving forward, allowing prosecutors to modify the list as new instances of potential misconduct arise. Mark Fazlollah,, "Philly DA Larry Krasner seeking to develop comprehensive list of tainted cops," 4 June 2018 America First Action, on the other hand, is required to disclose its donors and expenditures on a periodic basis to the Federal Election Commission. Kenneth P. Vogel, New York Times, "Venturing Into the Swamp, Trump Dines With Major Donors," 8 Mar. 2018 All need periodic trimming to keep them in bounds and reduce their height or remove declining portions. Tom Maccubbin,, "Poor root system hinders plant growth," 19 May 2018

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

9 Nov 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of periodic

: occurring regularly over a period of time


pe·​ri·​od·​ic | \ˌpir-ē-ˈäd-ik \

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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a private place of worship

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