A cycle is a series of events that happen repeatedly in the same order. Or, it is a slang term for a bicycle. If you ride a cycle to work, we suggest putting your clothes through the wash cycle twice — or wear strong cologne.

We get cycle from Latin cyclus and Greek kuklos, both meaning "circle." So you can see where bi- (two) and tri- (three) + cycle got their names. Nowadays, cycle can be a verb or a noun: You can ride a cycle or you can cycle to the park. The same holds true when you’re talking about a sequence of repeating events: The seasons cycle through spring, summer, fall, and winter. The plant life cycle goes from seed to flower to seed dispersal.

Definitions of cycle
  1. noun
    a periodically repeated sequence of events
    “a cycle of reprisal and retaliation”
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    a never-ending cycle of activities and events (especially when they seem to have little purpose)
    (Hinduism and Buddhism) the endless cycle of birth and suffering and death and rebirth
    type of:
    repeat, repetition
    an event that repeats
  2. noun
    a single complete execution of a periodically repeated phenomenon
    “a year constitutes a cycle of the seasons”
    synonyms: oscillation
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    cardiac cycle
    the complete cycle of events in the heart from the beginning of one heart beat to the beginning of the next; an electrical impulse conducted through the heart muscle that constricts the atria which is followed by constriction of the ventricles
    Carnot cycle, Carnot's ideal cycle
    a cycle (of expansion and compression) of an idealized reversible heat engine that does work without loss of heat
    one complete cycle of operations (as by a computer)
    menstrual cycle
    a recurring cycle (beginning at menarche and ending at menopause) in which the endometrial lining of the uterus prepares for pregnancy; if pregnancy does not occur the lining is shed at menstruation
    type of:
    periodic event, recurrent event
    an event that recurs at intervals
  3. noun
    the unit of frequency; one hertz has a periodic interval of one second
    synonyms: Hz, cps, cycle per second, cycles/second, hertz
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    type of:
    a magnitude or frequency relative to a time unit
  4. noun
    an interval during which a recurring sequence of events occurs
    “the never-ending cycle of the seasons”
    synonyms: rhythm, round
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    type of:
    interval, time interval
    a definite length of time marked off by two instants
  5. verb
    recur in repeating sequences
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    type of:
    recur, repeat
    happen or occur again
  6. verb
    cause to go through a recurring sequence
    cycle the laundry in this washing program”
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    cause to repeat a cycle
    type of:
    make pass, pass
    cause to pass
  7. verb
    pass through a cycle
    “This machine automatically cycles
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    cycle on
    come to the starting point of a cycle
    type of:
    go across, go through, pass
    go across or through
  8. noun
    a wheeled vehicle that has two wheels and is moved by foot pedals
    synonyms: bicycle, bike, wheel
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    bicycle-built-for-two, tandem, tandem bicycle
    a bicycle with two sets of pedals and two seats
    all-terrain bike, mountain bike, off-roader
    a bicycle with a sturdy frame and fat tires; originally designed for riding in mountainous country
    ordinary, ordinary bicycle
    an early bicycle with a very large front wheel and small back wheel
    a bicycle that must be pedaled
    safety bicycle, safety bike
    bicycle that has two wheels of equal size; pedals are connected to the rear wheel by a multiplying gear
    any of several early bicycles with pedals on the front wheel
    type of:
    wheeled vehicle
    a vehicle that moves on wheels and usually has a container for transporting things or people
  9. verb
    ride a motorcycle
    synonyms: motorbike, motorcycle
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    type of:
    be carried or travel on or in a vehicle
  10. verb
    ride a bicycle
    synonyms: bicycle, bike, pedal, wheel
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    ride a unicycle
    pedal backwards on a bicycle
    type of:
    be carried or travel on or in a vehicle
  11. noun
    a series of poems or songs on the same theme
    “Schubert's song cycles
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    type of:
    similar things placed in order or happening one after another
Word Family

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