Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Cycle and Flow

Cycle vs Flow

“Cycle” and “flow” are two words which one usually comes across when dealing with water and other fluids. There is a water cycle, the process of water moving on, above, and below the Earth’s surface, and there is water flowing in rivers and streams towards the sea or somewhere else. These terms are not only used to refer to water and fluids but are also used to refer to other things.

The word “cycle” is used to refer to the process which repeats itself in the same manner, order, or course. In astronomy it can be a phenomenon which happens periodically such as the cycle of the seasons which happens every year. It can be an interval of time in which something distinct happens like the cycle of a certain comet’s passing by the Earth’s atmosphere or the time when it can be visible to people on the planet such as that of Haley’s Comet which can be seen from the Earth every 75 to 76 years.

It can also be an event or sequence of events that are repeated regularly. Every life on Earth goes through a cycle of birth, growth, and death. Every second something or someone is born, grows, and will ultimately die in time. The word “cycle” has been used since the late 14th century. It came from the Latin word “cyclus” which was derived from the Greek word “kyklos” which was used to refer to any circular body or motion and to the cycle of events.

The word “flow,” on the other hand, is used to refer to the process of moving or running with unbroken continuity. It is characterized by its smoothness such as the manner in which a fluid or liquid moves when not kept in a container. It is used to refer to how blood circulates in the body, the continuous movement or shifting of particles that compose something, or an event like the flow of traffic or the flow of ground corn coming from the grinder into the container. It may also be used to refer to the act of sharing or expressing ideas in a continuous manner. This can be made by a single individual or several individuals in which case one can say that there has been a flow of ideas from the group.

The word “flow” was used since the mid 15th century. It came from the Old English word “flowan” which means “to stream, melt, or become liquid.” It was derived from the Proto-Indo-European word “pleu” meaning “flow” or “float.”


1.The word “cycle” is used to refer to something that repeats itself in the same manner regularly while the word “flow” is used to refer to the movement of something in a continuous manner.
2.“Cycle” is usually observed in sciences like astronomy and physics, mathematics, economics, and electronics while “flow” is usually observed in liquids and other events like the flow of traffic.
3.“Flow” is characterized by its smoothness while “cycle” is characterized by its repetition of similar events.
While a cycle goes around, a flow goes in a certain direction.

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