See also: -cycle



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From Late Latin cyclus, from Ancient Greek κύκλος (kúklos), reduplicated form of a Proto-Indo-European *kʷékʷlos (circle, wheel). Cognates include Sanskrit चक्र (cakrá), Latin colus, Old English hwēol (English wheel), English ancillary


cycle (plural cycles)

  1. An interval of space or time in which one set of events or phenomena is completed.
    the cycle of the seasons, or of the year
    • Burke
      Wages [] bear a full proportion [] to the medium of provision during the last bad cycle of twenty years.
  2. A complete rotation of anything.
  3. A process that returns to its beginning and then repeats itself in the same sequence.
    • 2013 August 10, “Legal highs: A new prescription”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      No sooner has a [synthetic] drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one. These “legal highs” are sold for the few months it takes the authorities to identify and ban them, and then the cycle begins again.
  4. The members of the sequence formed by such a process.
  5. (music) In musical set theory, an interval cycle is the set of pitch classes resulting from repeatedly applying the same interval class to the starting pitch class.
    The interval cycle C4 consists of the pitch classes 0, 4 and 8; when starting on E, it is realised as the pitches E, G# and C.
  6. A series of poems, songs or other works of art.
    The "Ring of the Nibelung" is a cycle of four operas by Richard Wagner, the famous nineteenth-century German composer.
  7. A programme on a washing machine, dishwasher, or other such device.
    Put the washing in on a warm cycle.
    the spin cycle
  8. A pedal-powered vehicle, such as a unicycle, bicycle, or tricycle; or, motorized vehicle that has either two or three wheels, such as a motorbike, motorcycle, motorized tricycle, or motortrike.
  9. (baseball) A single, a double, a triple, and a home run hit by the same player in the same game.
    Jones hit for the cycle in the game.
  10. (graph theory) A closed walk or path, with or without repeated vertices allowed.
  11. An imaginary circle or orbit in the heavens; one of the celestial spheres.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burke to this entry?)
  12. An age; a long period of time.
    • Tennyson
      Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.
  13. An orderly list for a given time; a calendar.
    • Evelyn
      We [] present our gardeners with a complete cycle of what is requisite to be done throughout every month of the year.
  14. (botany) One entire round in a circle or a spire.
    a cycle or set of leaves
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Gray to this entry?)

Usage notesEdit

  • (aviation sense): One take-off and landing of an aircraft is a cycle, referring to a pressurisation cycle which places stresses on the fuselage.
  • (baseball sense): As in the example sentence, one is usually said to hit for the cycle. However, other uses also occur, such as hit a cycle and complete the cycle.

Derived termsEdit



cycle (third-person singular simple present cycles, present participle cycling, simple past and past participle cycled)

  1. To ride a bicycle or other cycle.
  2. To go through a cycle or to put through a cycle.
  3. (electronics) To turn power off and back on
    Avoid cycling the device unnecessarily.
  4. (ice hockey) To maintain a team's possession of the puck in the offensive zone by handling and passing the puck in a loop from the boards near the goal up the side boards and passing to back to the boards near the goal
    They have their cycling game going tonight.

Related termsEdit






From Late Latin cyclus.


cycle m (plural cycles)

  1. cycle
  2. (Switzerland) middle school, junior high school

External linksEdit




  1. vocative singular of cyclus