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[peer-ee-od-ik] /ˌpɪər iˈɒd ɪk/
recurring at intervals of time:
periodic revivals of an interest in handicrafts.
occurring or appearing at regular intervals:
periodic visits by doctors to the village.
repeated at irregular intervals; intermittent:
periodic outbreaks of the disease.
Physics. recurring at equal intervals of time.
Mathematics. (of a function) having a graph that repeats after a fixed interval (period) of the independent variable.
  1. characterized by a series of successive circuits or revolutions, as the motion of a planet or satellite.
  2. of or relating to a period, as of the revolution of a heavenly body.
pertaining to or characterized by rhetorical periods, or periodic sentences.
Origin of periodic1
1635-45; < Latin periodicus < Greek periodikós. See period, -ic
Related forms
periodically, adverb
quasi-periodically, adverb
Can be confused
periodic, periodical. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for periodically
  • It also plans to shut down manufacturing periodically to keep production in line with demand.
  • So he periodically drives out to the city's desert periphery.
  • So sunnier people have also periodically predicted that the latest new technology was at last going to make that happen.
  • Tarantulas periodically shed their external skeletons in a process called molting.
  • Even nonperishable foods need to be replenished periodically.
  • Rotate pots periodically so sunlight reaches all sides.
  • Think of it as a prepaid gift card that you add funds to periodically.
  • That's a lesson rock-and-roll periodically learns and forgets.
  • The president will also be required to report to the board periodically on updates about athletics-department.
  • The shedding, known as molting, happens periodically depending on a host of factors.
British Dictionary definitions for periodically


happening or recurring at intervals; intermittent
of, relating to, or resembling a period
having or occurring in repeated periods or cycles
Derived Forms
periodically, adverb
periodicity (ˌpɪərɪəˈdɪsɪtɪ) noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for periodically



1640s, from French périodique (14c.), from Latin periodicus, from periodus (see period).

Periodic table in chemistry (1889) is from notion of the arrangement, in which similar properties recur at intervals in elements in the same area as you read down the rows of the table. This sense of the word is attested from 1872 (periodic law).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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periodically in Medicine

periodic pe·ri·od·ic (pĭr'ē-ŏd'ĭk)

  1. Having or marked by repeated cycles.

  2. Recurring at regular intervals.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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