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

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 Today, the numbers have swelled and include tens of thousands of migrants, some taken to shelters in periodic sweeps, Roma Gypsies or the long-term homeless. Washington Post, "Paris officials sleep outdoors to call attention to homeless," 1 Mar. 2018 For high-income individuals, especially business owners, paycheck withholding is less important than their periodic payments to the government. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "U.S. Government Revenues Drop in Wake of Tax Cuts," 12 July 2018 Despite public and political pressure, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer keeps raising the prices of its drugs—standing apart from some of its rivals who have vowed to rein in periodic price hiking. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Pfizer raises prices on 100 drugs—again—despite backlash from public, lawmakers," 3 July 2018 The East End Foundation offers periodic bike tours. Cary Darling, Houston Chronicle, "Let’s Go, EaDo: What to check out on Houston’s changing east side," 14 June 2018 Scarpinato added that the governor plans to request periodic updates from HHS on the status of the children. Mary Jo Pitzl, azcentral, "Arizona shelters housing 328 migrant children separated from families; Ducey tours facility," 27 June 2018 The bank pledged to offer periodic updates on the status of the search. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, "San Francisco Fed Begins Search for a New Leader," 16 May 2018 The bill requires that the VA secretary to develop a plan to study cannabis and submit it to Congress within six months, and that the VA submit periodic reports to House and Senate committees for the next five years. Erica Martinson, Anchorage Daily News, "Sullivan bill would support medical research into pot for veterans," 16 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

31 Aug 2018

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 \

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

What made you want to look up periodic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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