Definition of periodic in English:



  • 1Appearing or occurring at intervals.

    ‘the periodic visits she made to her father’
    • ‘Therefore, we recommend that periodic surveys for flying squirrels continue at approximately 10 year intervals.’
    • ‘The training should be provided to all ranks from the highest to the lowest and should be given at periodic intervals, not just at the start of the job.’
    • ‘Roofs are like heating and cooling systems: The equipment needs periodic cleaning and tuning for peak efficiency.’
    • ‘New Zealand is to present its next periodic report on compliance with the UN convention in September this year.’
    • ‘We further enhance the safety by periodic rebalancing of the weaker and stronger fund.’
    • ‘At this stage, the client needs periodic support as well as training in relapse prevention.’
    • ‘A baby who has periodic breathing resumes regular breathing on his or her own.’
    • ‘By contrast, the letting of the basement on a weekly tenancy is an example of a periodic tenancy.’
    • ‘Some economists argue that periodic credit crunches are the price emerging markets must pay for faster growth.’
    • ‘Maintaining the transformation merits and requires a periodic update on where social history stands.’
    • ‘Although it can be frightening, periodic breathing typically causes no other problems in newborns.’
    • ‘The continued need for 6-yearly periodic reviews has also been questioned.’
    • ‘They crop up in one form or the other at periodic intervals.’
    • ‘Emotion is kept in check - rage and pain appear suddenly, like periodic explosions.’
    • ‘Leases for a fixed term and periodic tenancies are the types of lease most frequently encountered.’
    • ‘Despite this, he has continued to appear regularly at our periodic family gatherings, and is considered a family member in good standing.’
    • ‘Having experienced spells of acute water scarcity at periodic intervals, people do lament over the waste of the precious resource in such times.’
    • ‘So every one of our portfolios has always been planned and recommended for periodic rebalancing.’
    • ‘Each recommended practice is reviewed and revised as appropriate at regular periodic intervals.’
    • ‘At periodic intervals, the iron bars at the mouth of narrow roads, put up to prevent the entry of heavy vehicles, are knocked down by lorries, due to reckless driving.’
    regular, periodical, at fixed intervals, recurrent, recurring, repeated, cyclical, cyclic, seasonal
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  • 2Chemistry
    Relating to the periodic table of the elements or the pattern of chemical properties that underlies it.

    • ‘Bismuth is the fifth and last element in Group 15 of the periodic table.’
    • ‘The steadily increasing weights gave Mendeleyev, Meyer, and others a kind of index by which to order the elements and reveal their periodic behaviour.’
    • ‘The study of oscillating reactions is the study of periodic changes in chemical reactions.’
    • ‘The first rough draft of the periodic elements signaled not the end but the beginning of chemistry.’
    • ‘The periodic table has since been expanded to 81 stable and 31 radioactive elements.’
  • 3Relating to a rhetorical period.

    See period (sense 6 of the noun)
    • ‘However, in the late 18th century there was a return to the periodic Latinate style.’


Mid 17th century: from French périodique, or via Latin from Greek periodikos ‘coming round at intervals’, from periodos (see period).