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

Like all slot canyons, this one was formed by periodic floods that eroded the sandstone over time. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Everyone wants to Instagram the world’s most beautiful canyon. Should they?," 11 July 2019 His periodic visits with King (a TV host disinclined to press him on policy details or his business history) became pop-culture events. Gilbert Garcia,, "Bitter medicine of Perot’s 1992 campaign wouldn’t sell today," 10 July 2019 Jim Huffman’s periodic 1920s set and lighting design nicely accommodate the creative confusion. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, "On Theater: A hilarious “Hay Fever” at the Attic," 16 Sep. 2019 Drivers should expect periodic lane closures and flaggers directing traffic. oregonlive, "Portland metro Wednesday traffic: All lanes open at scene of fatal crash on I-84 west," 11 Sep. 2019 New Orleans has long been plagued with periodic flooding. Jennifer Calfas, WSJ, "Barry to Test New Orleans’ Levees, Pumps and Gates," 12 July 2019 The front is expected to be in the area until Thursday, bringing warm temperatures, humidity and periodic chances of rain and thunderstorms, Mott said. Marie Fazio,, "Rain, heat to dominate in Chicago area until weekend," 10 Sep. 2019 Hasty has long studied how to engineer various periodic actions into bacteria, including making E. coli pulse with fluorescent light. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From rock/paper/scissors to new cancer-fighting concept from UCSD scientists," 6 Sep. 2019 The most likely pattern will be periodic eyewall replacement cycles, in which the center of the storm gradually loses some coherence, and its replaced by a new eyewall. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Dorian strengthens further, now tied for second-strongest Atlantic storm," 1 Sep. 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

12 Oct 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

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to be made up of

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