[bahy-si-kuh l, -sik-uh l, -sahy-kuh l]


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.

verb (used without object), bi·cy·cled, bi·cy·cling.

to ride a bicycle.

verb (used with object), bi·cy·cled, bi·cy·cling.

to ship or transport directly by bicycle or other means.

Origin of bicycle

From French, dating back to 1865–70; see origin at bi-1, cycle
Related formsbi·cy·clist, bi·cy·cler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bicycle

Contemporary Examples of bicycle

Historical Examples of bicycle

  • The excellent automobile road around the rim affords easy approach afoot as well as by automobile and bicycle.

    The Book of the National Parks

    Robert Sterling Yard

  • Then Githa, who had been standing silently by her bicycle, suddenly assumed direction of the situation.

  • You can ride a horse, or a bicycle, and drive in the carriage or dog-cart.

  • I'll hang my trousers; and you, Elizabeth, can hang your bicycle bloomers.

  • I expended another three marks on the hire of a bicycle, though I ran the risk thereby of going perhaps without Monday's dinner.

British Dictionary definitions for bicycle



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


(intr) to ride a bicycle; cycle
Derived Formsbicyclist or bicycler, noun

Word Origin for bicycle

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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper