[moh-ter-sahy-kuh l]


a motor vehicle similar to a bicycle but usually larger and heavier, chiefly for one rider but sometimes having two saddles or an attached sidecar for passengers.

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

to ride on or operate a motorcycle.

Origin of motorcycle

An Americanism dating back to 1890–95; motor + cycle
Related formsmo·tor·cy·clist [moh-ter-sahy-klist] /ˈmoʊ tərˌsaɪ klɪst/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for motorcycle

hog, chopper, scooter, minibike, moped, enduro

Examples from the Web for motorcycle

Contemporary Examples of motorcycle

Historical Examples of motorcycle

British Dictionary definitions for motorcycle



Also called: motorbike a two-wheeled vehicle, having a stronger frame than a bicycle, that is driven by a petrol engine, usually with a capacity of between 125 cc and 1000 cc

verb (intr)

to ride on a motorcycle
Derived Formsmotorcyclist, 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

Word Origin and History for motorcycle

1895, a hybrid from motor + -cycle, from bicycle. Motocycle also was used late 19c.

The horse follows the crooks of a country road, but then the training of the "motorcycle" (horrid name) will inevitably straighten out the crooks in the country road, and afford long ranges of straight tracks. [Payson Burleigh, "The Age of Steel," Oct. 12, 1895]

Related: Motorcyclist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper