Definition of cycle in US English:



  • 1often with adjective or noun modifier A series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order.

    ‘the boom and slump periods of a trade cycle’
    • ‘Let's use what power we have as consumers, then, to prevent a dangerous cycle from repeating itself.’
    • ‘After recuperating for some 20 years, they return to the island of their birth, repeating the age-old cycle.’
    • ‘As the cycle repeats, panic starts to rise inside me, causing my heart to race and my temples to pound.’
    • ‘One other thing I know is that we are not doomed to repeat the escalating cycles of violence.’
    • ‘Scientists are fairly confident that there is a regular cycle of higher and lower storm frequency, and that we are due for a high frequency period.’
    • ‘Any civilisation requires regular repeating cycles in order to be able to function properly.’
    • ‘Many machines can now be programmed to repeat the same cycles.’
    • ‘This procedure was repeated in several cycles to achieve the specified force in the cable.’
    • ‘Far from inaugurating a new style of popular politics, they repeat ancient cycles of violence and retribution.’
    • ‘This form repeats itself in endless cycles, and with each cycle the content of practice and knowledge rises to a higher level.’
    • ‘Population grows, the same cycle repeats itself and another round of development adds to the sprawl, and the traffic, and so on.’
    • ‘Ovulation is the release of the egg from the ovaries in a regular monthly cycle.’
    • ‘Each discrete section of animation is brief and each repeats in a regular cycle.’
    • ‘Limit or eliminate herbicides and pesticides in order to encourage natural cycles of pest control.’
    • ‘The reality, as we have seen, is that eclipses are not random at all; they repeat on regular cycles.’
    • ‘Feelings of low self worth mean they often put themselves in situations that are damaging and the cycle keeps being repeated.’
    • ‘This stop-and-start cycle is repeated six more times.’
    • ‘Eventually, though, as hiring picks up and labor markets tighten, wage growth accelerates and the cycle repeats.’
    • ‘Between 7 and 10 days later, the whole cycle is repeated.’
    • ‘The tricky part is going to be to keep the currency at a manageable strength otherwise we just repeat the same cycle over again.’
    round, rotation, revolution
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The period of time taken to complete a single sequence of events.
      ‘the cells are shed over a cycle of twenty-eight days’
      • ‘Dr Perrett said that hepatitis A has a natural periodic cycle of about seven years, which would explain two outbreaks in such quick succession.’
    2. 1.2technical A recurring series of successive operations or states, as in the working of an internal combustion engine, or in the alternation of an electric current or a wave.
      ‘the familiar four cycles of intake, combustion, ignition, and exhaust’
      • ‘Hydrogen must replace fossil fuels through efficient production using solar radiation, thermochemical cycles, or bioinspired catalysts to split water.’
      • ‘He then suggested enhancing the technique by combining pressure with powerful cycles of ultrasonic energy.’
      • ‘A Stirling Engine is a mechanical device, which operates on a closed looping thermodynamic cycle.’
      • ‘The quantum and classical Carnot engines therefore operate in the same way - a closed cycle of two isothermal and two adiabatic processes.’
      • ‘At the sub-femtosecond level, a laser pulse contains only a few cycles of the carrier electromagnetic wave.’
    3. 1.3Biology A recurring series of events or metabolic processes in the lifetime of a plant or animal.
      ‘the storks' breeding cycle’
      • ‘Two things I've been interested in recently are the brain's visual processing, and the metabolic cycle.’
      • ‘As a consequence, most biological processes, from sleep-wake cycles in people to leaf movements in plants, follow a daily, circadian rhythm.’
      • ‘These metabolic cycles allow large and rapid changes in the net rate of sucrose breakdown in response to the demand in the cell, even though the steady-state concentrations of metabolites hardly change.’
      • ‘This causes problems for the plant because if a broad band of proteins have been denatured, they can't continue with their normal metabolic cycles.’
      • ‘Following this method does not overtax the body's natural cycles of metabolic dips, blood-pressure peaks and valleys.’
    4. 1.4Biochemistry A series of successive metabolic reactions in which one of the products is regenerated and reused.
      • ‘PCR was carried out in limited cycles in which PCR products exponentially increased and reflected the initial quantity of RNA.’
    5. 1.5Ecology The movement of a simple substance through the soil, rocks, water, atmosphere, and living organisms of the earth.
      • ‘Looking at the needs of diverse forests and soils, and the cycles of water and air, the evidence suggests that North America, the planet also, is already overpopulated by humans.’
      • ‘Wetland's microbes, plants, and wildlife are part of global cycles for water and nitrogen.’
      • ‘Once cooled to body temperature, the water then completes its cycle by being returned to the ground where it slowly irrigates a grove of mesquite trees that form a new desert park.’
      • ‘Deforestation also can have regional climatic effects because trees are a key link in the evapotranspiration cycle between soil and the atmosphere.’
      • ‘One form of interaction is the cycle of moisture: water evaporates to form clouds from which water falls again as rain.’
    6. 1.6Computing A single set of hardware operations, especially that by which memory is accessed and an item is transferred to or from it, to the point at which the memory may be accessed again.
      • ‘Grid software makes collections of computers more efficient by allowing them to share CPU cycles, memory and other resources so closely that they act almost like a single computer.’
      • ‘The resources that are important from an active networking point of view include CPU cycles, main memory, and outgoing network bandwidth.’
      • ‘The workload is executed on simulated processors where each machine instruction of the target processor can take many machine cycles of the host computer.’
      • ‘An important consideration is the fact that network resources, measured as throughput in MB per second are a fixed resource just as disk space and CPU cycles are.’
      • ‘These are typically scientific or technical and require a great number of computer processing cycles or access to large amounts of data.’
    7. 1.7Physics A cycle per second; one hertz.
      • ‘Different frequencies, measured in hertz, or cycles per second, indicate different levels and types of activities.’
      • ‘The sounds emitted may be undetectable to the human ear, which on average can hear between 16 and 16,000 cycles per second.’
      • ‘Optical clocks, with frequencies measured near 10 cycles per second, promise greater accuracy.’
      • ‘The rate at which an object vibrates is measured in Hertz or cycles per second.’
      • ‘When the researchers apply voltage to the source, the arm begins vibrating at a frequency of 350 to 400 million cycles per second between the electrodes.’
  • 2A complete set or series.

    ‘the painting is one of a cycle of seven’
    • ‘Moreover, the narrative structure of short story cycles mirrors the episodic and unchronological method of oral narration.’
    • ‘The first and last stories in the cycle most clearly evoke a balancing dialogue through a careful mirroring of their basic plots.’
    • ‘The Arthurian Legends are a cycle of stories that has been shaped and passed down through over fourteen hundred years of English history.’
    • ‘With Kamban, perhaps for the last time in the cycle of Indian Rama stories, Rama occasionally straddles the nebulous twilight zone between epic hero and infallible deity.’
    • ‘In this section, Davis examines eleven short-story cycles, comparing two or three of them in each of the five chapters.’
    • ‘The planned cycle of seven books is underpinned by the conceit that there should be one book for each day of the week.’
    • ‘About a dozen stories will be performed from the full cycle of 50 plays, retelling the Bible's account of mankind from God's Creation to Judgment Day.’
    • ‘His extensive fresco cycles display compositional and narrative complexity and combine historical themes with contemporary detail.’
    • ‘The play is part of Wilson's decade-by-decade cycle examining African-American life in the 20th century.’
    • ‘He painted this canvas at the height of his career, while he was working on his celebrated cycle of paintings The Story of Psyche for the Hotel de Soubise in Paris.’
    series, sequence, succession, run
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    1. 2.1 A series of songs, stories, plays, or poems composed around a particular theme, and usually intended to be performed or read in sequence.
      ‘Wagner's Ring Cycle’
      • ‘Akhmatova wrote a poem cycle called Cinque which was based on their evenings together.’
      • ‘Reading the text as a short story cycle and not just a collection reveals Lahiri's careful balancing of a range of representations and her intricate use of pattern and motif.’
      • ‘The mezzo-soprano distinguished herself in a cycle of spiritual songs by various modern composers.’
      • ‘Medieval Lauds featured a weekly cycle of seven canticles beginning on Sunday with the Benedicite.’
      • ‘The last time she attempted an epic cycle of eighteen songs, the result was a horribly uneven album.’
      • ‘This series includes a complete cycle of the symphonies performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin.’
      • ‘Few established contemporary poets have shown the commitment or innovation displayed by Wearne in writing the long cycles of thematic poems.’
      • ‘Think of Sibelius, the nationalist composer; or the Kalevala - the epic cycle of musical folktales, first collected in 1835.’
      • ‘The entire cycle runs at about seven hours, and it's a long haul.’
      • ‘He originally thought in terms of a theatrical setting for the whole cycle of fifteen quartets, but that proved too grandiose.’
      • ‘In this sense, she reflects the same concerns as another emblematic mother-daughter short story cycle, Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.’
  • 3A bicycle or tricycle.

    • ‘Yuvaraj of standard seven, who came to school walking in the morning, won himself a cycle to ride back home.’
    • ‘Sidharth rides a cycle selling tea and coffee in bus and railway stations to make a living.’
    • ‘Race officials today announced they will be awarding two mountain cycles to volunteers aiding the effort in this year's race.’
    • ‘The sheer number of people in attendance has reduced the road to barely the width of two cycles.’
    • ‘She can remember no other girl at that time riding a cycle.’
    • ‘The complex procedures required to ride a cycle, or to swim, are only lost with ill health.’
    • ‘Ian was riding the cycle, and Amarie was clinging tightly to his back.’
    bicycle, two-wheeler, pedal cycle
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    1. 3.1in singular A ride on a bicycle.
      ‘a 112-mile cycle’
      • ‘Today it is a blazing day in the capital, Maputo, and I have stayed on alone here for a few days, while the team continues the cycle northwards.’
      • ‘Michael and Bernard provided one of the attractions on the day when they completed the cycle on a tandem bike.’


[no object]
  • 1Ride a bicycle.

    ‘she cycled to work every day’
    • ‘As they cycle on their bicycles these cyclists are also listening to their favourite radio programmes!’
    • ‘The snow has settled and it's still coming down, which is great and lovely but I have to cycle 5 miles or so to work.’
    • ‘Appalled, Sarah jumped onto her bicycle and cycled for half an hour until she reached her old house.’
    • ‘By the end of the year he will have cycled nearly 1,400 miles.’
    • ‘Back home, I found I'd cycled 2.32 miles, rather more than I'd planned, and three times as far as I can walk.’
    • ‘Ride, blade, cycle, stroll, wheel, walk or run to help spinal cord research in West Vancouver June 13.’
    • ‘Last year, she cycled over 1,300 miles from John O'Groats to Land's End on a tandem bicycle with her brother, Luke.’
    • ‘Jimmy Bergin from Abbeyleix took out his bicycle and cycled 28 miles to raise funds.’
    • ‘You could cycle, ride or kayak, but, personally, I prefer to trust my own two legs.’
    • ‘21-year-old John works as a sales assistant and cycles everywhere on his mountain bike.’
    • ‘I cycle around on my bicycle, and I'm very, very happy.’
    • ‘I opted to cycle for an hour out of London and then turn round, whatever the distance covered.’
    • ‘It only takes PE teacher Andrew three minutes longer to cycle rather than drive to work.’
    • ‘When he was 65 Mr Simpson cycled 750 miles alone from Milan to the heel of Italy to visit his son-in-law and daughter.’
    • ‘Public rights of way are paths and tracks through countryside and sometimes residential areas where people can walk, cycle and ride horses.’
    • ‘Two cyclists joined in and cycled 20 miles to raise funds for charity.’
    • ‘I cycle down the two-and-a-half miles of Southampton Road which is unusually devoid of traffic.’
    • ‘Playing in the woods, on the beach, we would cycle for miles and miles into the countryside.’
    • ‘Two 11-year-old boys saw a man on a mountain bike cycle past.’
    • ‘So far, he has cycled more than 5,000 miles, pedaling for up to six hours a day, six days a week.’
    travel, go, move, progress, proceed, make one's way
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  • 2Move in or follow a regularly repeated sequence of events.

    ‘economies cycle regularly between boom and slump’
    • ‘Most profound were my sharp bursts of emotion, my rapidly cycling feelings that seemed impossible to express.’
    • ‘Most athletes follow a rigid periodization scheme that cycles different training protocols every 6-8 weeks or so in the months leading up to a competition.’
    • ‘Be sure to link to this URL, because eventually this entry will cycle off the main page.’
    • ‘Using a virus they delivered a genetic mutation to the hearts of the hamsters that corrected a defect in the gene that regulates the way calcium is cycled through the heart.’
    • ‘Ideally, each lesson would cycle repeatedly through the romance, precision and generalization stages.’
    • ‘The frame includes a predefined number of time slots that are cycled through in sequence.’
    • ‘Do one or two speed workouts a week, cycling through three different programs.’
    • ‘You can press the up and down arrows repeatedly to cycle through the commands that you've already typed in.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin cyclus, from Greek kuklos ‘circle’.