I can't find the difference between these two words. I want to describe the property of something that is repeating at a fixed period (don't ask me to use periodicity, that would be for another question).

For instance, in the sentence:

I can see that there is ... in candy sales. People are buying on average more at the beginning of the month than at the end of the it.

Which of the two terms "cyclicity" and "cyclicality" would best fit, and for what reason?

  • "Repeating at a fixed interval" is cyclical. Your words are nouns (and may not really exist).
    – Andrew Leach
    May 1, 2013 at 7:48
  • I changed slightly the question to make it more precise. I am indeed looking for the noun that describes the presence of cycles. Have you ever heard of seasonality? It is a particular case of .....ty when the cycle is during one year. May 1, 2013 at 8:17
  • Always do some home work and include your research findings in the question to help the answerers help you.
    – Kris
    May 1, 2013 at 10:37
  • 1
    I think you could just have asked about the difference between cyclic and cyclical.
    – user541686
    May 1, 2013 at 18:23
  • 1
    @Mitch: I don't have an actual English dictionary where I am currently. But with all research I have done on what is available on Internet I wasn't able to differentiate the difference. The reason I post here is that I hope some native English can help. May 2, 2013 at 2:29

4 Answers 4


There is no difference between the two words.

In Merriam-Webster Unabridged (subscription required), the definition of cyclicality refers to the definition of cyclicity, meaning that they are effectively the same word, sharing the same definition:

cyclicity, n. : the quality or state of being cyclic

The fact that the definition of cyclicality refers to cyclicity tends to imply that cyclicity is the preferred form:

Candy sales demonstrate a monthly cyclicity.


Using a sentence construction which forces you to use words that are unfamiliar is a bad decision, and using more familiar words is a better choice.

I can see that candy sales are cyclical. People are buying on average more at the beginning of the month than at the end of the it.

  • 3
    Smart answer and wise advice but seems to be off topic: this is not the question. May 2, 2013 at 3:05

To me cyclicity describes whether or not something has cycles, whereas cyclicality describes whether it is composed of cycles.

So in the first case, I expect the structure to merely contain a cycle (so it's not completely free of cycles), whereas in the second, I expect cycles to be a notable or even defining characteristic of the structure.

In your example, the proper word would be cyclicity, since the presence of cycles is an attribute that happened to exist, rather than being a fundamental part of what you're describing.


For the given context:

I can see that there is cyclicality in candy sales. People are buying on average more at the beginning of the month than at the end of the it.

cyclicality The condition of being cyclic.

When talking about stocks cyclicality basically means that stocks follow the general macroeconomic conditions. A cyclical stock is one that typically performs well when the economy is good and badly when than when the economy is weak. This sounds pretty much like common sense but it's important to remember that not all companies fall into this group

  • Thanks for this answer. However, en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cyclicity (same source) states that cyclicity means: "The state of recurring at regular intervals; of being cyclic." It seems that both cyclicality and cyclicity have very similar meaning. Is there a slight difference in the meaning that I don't grasp yet? Maybe we are in presence of perfect synonymous? May 1, 2013 at 10:48
  • @RockScience You need great patience. In plain English, the two words are generally considered synonyms. In your specific context, cyclicality has a specific meaning: being in the nature of cyclical. In contrast, cyclicity is the period defining cyclicality. Figure.
    – Kris
    May 1, 2013 at 10:51
  • Which specific context?
    – Mitch
    May 1, 2013 at 11:36

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