cycle

1 of 2

noun

cy·​cle ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio)
1
: an interval of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events or phenomena is completed
a 4-year cycle of growth and development
2
a
: a course or series of events or operations that recur regularly and usually lead back to the starting point
… the common cycle of birth, growth, senescence, and death. T. C. Schneirla and Gerard Piel
b
: one complete performance of a vibration, electric oscillation, current alternation, or other periodic process
c
: a permutation of a set of ordered elements in which each element takes the place of the next and the last becomes first
d
: a takeoff and landing of an airplane
3
: a circular or spiral arrangement: such as
a
: an imaginary circle or orbit in the heavens
4
: a long period of time : age
5
a
: a group of creative works (such as poems, plays, or songs) treating the same theme
a cycle of poems about unrequited love
b
: a series of narratives dealing typically with the exploits of a legendary hero
the Arthurian cycle
6
7
: the series of a single, double, triple, and home run hit in any order by one player during one baseball game

cycle

2 of 2

verb

cycled; cycling ˈsī-k(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce cycle (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: to pass through a cycle
The menu cycles through all the options.
Because the traditional HVAC system cycles on and off—and is powered down when you leave—relief is inconsistent at best. Sarah Littleton
b
: to recur in cycles
Freezing temperatures … aren't the problem. It's when temperatures cycle between freezing and thaws, causing pavement to contract and expand … that can create larger issues. Jonathan Oosting
2
: to ride a cycle
specifically : bicycle
She cycles to work.

transitive verb

: to cause to go through a cycle
The fact that it [the pump] runs constantly may be a bad sign. It may be cycling the water, not removing it. Popular Mechanics
Everything is constantly cycled in nature. There is abundant waste in nature, just as there is in industry, but in nature waste constantly flows back into living systems. Paul Hawken and William McDonough
cycler noun

Example Sentences

Noun We have to wait for the dishwasher's wash and dry cycles to end. the spin cycle on a washing machine He rode his cycle into town. Verb The water is cycled back into the system after it has been used. The water cycles back into the system.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The two parties’ four-week timeline is down from nine weeks during the 2020 runoff cycle, a change that was enacted under the major voting law that Republican state legislators in Georgia passed last year. Maya King, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Nov. 2022 This election cycle, Mr. DeSantis’s political operation and the state GOP spent about $263 million, while Mr. Crist and the state Democratic Party spent about $51 million. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, 14 Nov. 2022 Between 2009 and 2014, Bezuidenhout recorded a nine-volume cycle of Mozart’s keyboard music, for the Harmonia Mundi label. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 Opportunities abound for anyone who likes to hunt, fish, cycle, and even ski or snowboard now that flakes are falling and lifts are spinning. Outside Online, 14 Nov. 2022 There’s definitely a cycle, which is super interesting. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Nov. 2022 Four swing states are electing governors this cycle: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Shira Stein, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Nov. 2022 These dueling themes have defined contentious attorneys general races around the country this election cycle, with particularly competitive races in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Texas. Holly Bailey, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Nov. 2022 These dueling themes have defined contentious attorneys general races around the country this election cycle, with particularly competitive races in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Texas. Holly Bailey, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2022
Verb
Instead of just laying out 10 moves to cycle through multiple times, the videos play in order; when a move repeats, so do the instructions. Medea Giordano, WIRED, 2 Oct. 2022 The key with in silico modeling, Shoichet said, is to cycle back and forth between prediction and testing — and then optimizing whatever molecules ultimately pass muster. Meghana Keshavan, STAT, 1 Oct. 2022 Another direction, Allen notes, is to cycle through the proteins identified in this study and look at their specific roles in other disorders. WIRED, 21 Sep. 2022 Our testers found that this model was supremely easy to use and understand, with a color-changing LED display to indicate the air quality in your home and a wide range of fan speeds and settings to cycle through. Samantha Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 18 Sep. 2022 Video broadcast by Kan, the Israeli public broadcaster, showed the gunman walking across a quiet street and firing an assault rifle at passers-by and a cyclist, who managed to cycle away. New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Lying flat originated with Luo Huazhong, a factory worker, who eventually quit his job to cycle across China. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 2 Sep. 2022 Older buildings’ ventilation systems often can’t cycle enough air in and out to sufficiently remove the droplets COVID-19 clings to. Marin Wolf, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Aug. 2022 But Sutherland said even without benzo-dope, and even with the best intentions and care, people will cycle on and off of drugs. Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cycle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English cicle, from Late Latin cyclus, from Greek kyklos circle, wheel, cycle — more at wheel

Verb

derivative of cycle entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1842, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of cycle was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cycle

Cite this Entry

“Cycle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cycle. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

cycle 1 of 2

noun

cy·​cle ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio)
1
: a period of time taken up by a series of events or actions that repeat themselves regularly and in the same order
the cycle of the seasons
2
a
: a series of events or operations that happen again and again regularly and usually lead back to the starting point
the cycle of blood from the heart, through the blood vessels, and back again
the drying cycle of a dishwasher
b
: one complete occurrence of a cycle
a cycle of alternating current
the cycle of a vibration
3
: a long period of time : age
cyclic
ˈsī-klik
 also  ˈsik-lik
adjective
or cyclical
ˈsī-kli-kəl,
ˈsik-li-
cyclically
-k(ə-)lē
adverb

cycle

2 of 2

verb

cy·​cle
ˈsī-kəl,
ˈsik-əl
cycled; cycling
ˈsī-k(ə-)liŋ,
ˈsik(-ə)-liŋ
: to ride a bicycle or motorcycle

Medical Definition

cycle 1 of 2

noun

cy·​cle ˈsī-kəl How to pronounce cycle (audio)
1
: a recurring series of events: as
a(1)
: a series of stages through which an organism tends to pass once in a fixed order
the common cycle of birth, growth, senescence and death T. C. Schneirla & Gerard Piel
also : a series of stages through which a population of organisms tends to pass more or less in synchrony
the mosquito-hatching cycle
see life cycle
(2)
: a series of physiological, biochemical, or psychological stages that recur in the same individual see cardiac cycle, menstrual cycle krebs cycle
b
: one complete performance of a vibration, electric oscillation, current alternation, or other periodic process
c
: a series of ecological stages through which a substance tends to pass and which usually but not always leads back to the starting point
the cycle of nitrogen in the living world
2
cyclic
ˈsī-klik also ˈsik-lik
adjective
cyclically adverb

cycle

2 of 2

intransitive verb

cycled; cycling
: to undergo the estrous cycle
the mare has begun cycling

More from Merriam-Webster on cycle

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