One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Mathematics. Of or relating to the permutation of a set of elements in a cycle; (of a group G) containing a normal subgroup N that is cyclic, such that the quotient G/N is cyclic.
2Medicine and Zoology. Of, relating to, or designating the final stage of development of trypanosomes in the intermediate (invertebrate) host, at which stage they are infective to the vertebrate host.
Zoology and Medicine. A metacyclic trypanosome.
Late 19th century. From meta- + cyclic, after German metacyclisch.
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