• synonyms


[bahy-si-kuh l, -sik-uh l, -sahy-kuh l]
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  1. a vehicle with two wheels in tandem, usually propelled by pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain, and having handlebars for steering and a saddlelike seat.
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verb (used without object), bi·cy·cled, bi·cy·cling.
  1. to ride a bicycle.
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verb (used with object), bi·cy·cled, bi·cy·cling.
  1. to ship or transport directly by bicycle or other means.
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Origin of bicycle

From French, dating back to 1865–70; see origin at bi-1, cycle
Related formsbi·cy·clist, bi·cy·cler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

bike, cycle, wheels, tandem, velocipede, two-wheeler

Examples from the Web for bicycle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for bicycle


  1. a vehicle with a tubular metal frame mounted on two spoked wheels, one behind the other. The rider sits on a saddle, propels the vehicle by means of pedals that drive the rear wheel through a chain, and steers with handlebars on the front wheelOften shortened to: cycle, informal bike
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  1. (intr) to ride a bicycle; cycle
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Derived Formsbicyclist or bicycler, noun

Word Origin

C19: from bi- 1 + Late Latin cyclus, from Greek kuklos wheel
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

Word Origin and History for bicycle


1868, coined from bi- "two" + Greek kyklos "circle, wheel" (see cycle (n.)), on the pattern of tricycle; both the word and the vehicle superseding earlier velocipede. The English word probably is not from French, though often said to be (many French sources say the French word is from English). The assumption apparently is because Pierre Lallement, employee of a French carriage works, improved Macmillan's 1839 pedal velocipede in 1865 and took the invention to America. See also pennyfarthing. As a verb, from 1869.

That ne plus ultra of snobbishness -- bicyclism. [1876]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper