Definition of Cyclops in US English:



  • 1Greek Mythology
    A member of a race of savage one-eyed giants. In the Odyssey, Odysseus escaped death by blinding the Cyclops Polyphemus.

    • ‘Polyphemus is one of the Cyclopes, and one of the only creatures born before the Titans, who was not killed by the Olympians.’
    • ‘Mythic opponents are often represented with unusual numbers of body parts; the Irish Fomoire had only one leg and one arm, the Greek Cyclops one eye.’
    • ‘Laertes has his vineyard plot, no more than a small holding, and even the Cyclopes produce an admittedly strife-stirring kind of wine from wild vines.’
    • ‘The one-eyed monster Cyclops imprisons them in his cave, while the beautiful seductress Circe turns Ulysses' men into swine.’
    • ‘They left Andromache and stopped on the island of the Cyclopes, trying to avoid Scylla and Charybdis.’
    • ‘When the fiery stake sizzled in the giant's eye and he bellowed out his pain, his fellow Cyclopes ran to his aid, demanding who had caused his anguish.’
    • ‘First came hundred handed beasts, then the Cyclopes and their last children, the Titans.’
    • ‘The one-eyed, savage giant called Cyclops remained a mystery, submerged in the myths and imagery of men at sea and women who wait for them, told through story and song.’
    • ‘In the The Odyssey, he describes the Cyclops as a band of giant, one-eyed, man-eating shepherds.’
    • ‘The blinded Cyclops at the cave exit feels the emerging animals, under whose bellies Odysseus and his followers are clinging.’
  • 2A minute predatory freshwater crustacean which has a cylindrical body with a single central eye.

    Genus "Cyclops" and other genera, order "Cyclopoida"

    • ‘When a person drinks contaminated water from ponds or shallow open wells, the cyclops is dissolved by the gastric acid of the stomach and the larvae are released and migrate through the intestinal wall.’
    • ‘The larvae are ingested by the copepod crustacea, Cyclops, which actively chase them.’
    • ‘The various species of Cyclops are very numerous in freshwater locations during the summer months, and are usually among the much reduced fauna in these same locations during the winter.’
    • ‘The class of Crustacea to which the Cyclops belongs, the Copepoda, form a very important part of the marine plankton as they are part of the food chain for many larger animals.’
    • ‘A feature of chromatin diminution in the crustacean genus Cyclops is that the somatic and germline chromosome number remains the same.’


Via Latin from Greek Kuklōps, literally ‘round-eyed’, from kuklos ‘circle’ + ōps ‘eye’.