Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


to use a bicycle

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The verb cycle was derived either from the slightly earlier noun ‘cycle’, which was a common term for what we now generally call a bicycle, or by shortening the word ‘bicycle’. All of these were first used in the latter half of the 19th century.


Yesterday was World Bicycle Day, a celebration of the bicycle inaugurated by the UN in 2018. The benefits of cycling for the health of both individuals and the environment are well known and have been for some time. Yet although a lot of lip service is paid to the merits of the bicycle, the authorities in many countries have been slow to act to make cycling safe and easy so that it becomes the natural option for shorter journeys. There are some signs the Covid pandemic may change that, not least as air pollution is thought to be one factor in making the experience of the disease more severe. Cities around the world are putting forward plans to make their streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike; it remains to be seen whether these good intentions are realized as the threat of coronavirus recedes.


Cycling is a joy and faster than many other modes of transport, depending on the time of day. It clears the head.
(David Byrne)

But you’ll look sweet upon the seat Of a bicycle made for two.
(Harry Dacre, Daisy Bell)

Related words

bike, coast, freewheel, pedal, ride

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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