pe·​ri·​od·​ic·​i·​ty | \ ˌpir-ē-ə-ˈdi-sə-tē How to pronounce periodicity (audio) \

Definition of periodicity

: the quality, state, or fact of being regularly recurrent or having periods

Examples of periodicity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The model factors in everything from the height and periodicity of waves to how close pelicans fly to the ocean’s surface. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UC San Diego demystifies how pelicans effortlessly glide in front of ocean waves," 28 Apr. 2021 But the famous periodicity of cicada broods can set some predators up for feast-then-famine scenarios—population booms followed by food insecurity and then sudden drops in numbers. Jillian Mock, Scientific American, "Brood X Cicadas Could Cause a Bird Baby Boom," 9 Apr. 2021 Through these observations, the scientists discovered the FRB does, in fact, have a periodicity similar to what had been predicted in June. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Mysterious Repeating Radio Burst From Space Is Back, Exactly Right on Time," 27 Aug. 2020 Juneteenth demonstrates a periodicity that corresponds with the holiday every year. C. Brandon Ogbunu, Wired, "Why Juneteenth Went Viral," 19 June 2020 An article on Tuesday about the Vera C. Rubin Observatory misidentified the astronomer who discovered a relationship between the luminosities and periodicities of variable stars. New York Times, "Corrections: Jan. 15, 2020," 14 Jan. 2020 In the twentieth century, scientists realized that periodicity wasn’t determined by atomic weight; instead, what mattered was the number of protons that each atom contained in its nucleus. Neima Jahromi, The New Yorker, "The Histories Hidden in the Periodic Table," 27 Dec. 2019 The second is periodicity — a repeating path like a ball pinging back and forth between two sides. Quanta Magazine, "New Shapes Solve Infinite Pool-Table Problem," 8 Aug. 2017 The latter is what a natural heart does, of course, gently pushing the blood along, and that periodicity is what results in a person’s familiar pulse. Henry Petroski, WSJ, "‘Ticker’ Review: The Race to Reinvent the Heart," 3 Aug. 2018

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

1820, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of periodicity was in 1820

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Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Periodicity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for periodicity


pe·​ri·​od·​ic·​i·​ty | \ ˌpir-ē-ə-ˈdis-ət-ē How to pronounce periodicity (audio) \
plural periodicities

Medical Definition of periodicity

: the quality, state, or fact of being regularly recurrent or having periods the periodicity of peptic ulcer is…characteristic of the diseaseJournal of the American Medical Association

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