AskDefine | Define periodical

Dictionary Definition

periodical adj : happening or recurring at regular intervals [syn: periodic] [ant: aperiodic] n : a publication that appears at fixed intervals

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. A publication issued regularly, but less frequently than daily
  2. A publication that appears at fixed intervals
  3. Often contains the most current information in the field, on every conceivable topic, often in greater detail than other publication formats.
  4. The primary means for communication of original scholarship or creative work at the cutting edge of research in almost all fields.


  • (a publication that appears at fixed intervals): serial




  1. Periodic
  2. Published at regular intervals of more than one day, especially weekly, monthly, or quarterly
  3. Of, or relating to such a publication

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Magazines, periodicals or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles, generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, or both.


The various elements that contribute to the production of magazines vary wildly. Core elements such as publishing schedules, formats and target audiences are seemingly infinitely variable. Typically, magazines which focus primarily on current events, such as Newsweek or Entertainment Weekly, are published weekly or biweekly. Magazines with a focus on specific interests, such as Life Positive and Cat Fancy, may be published less frequently, such as monthly, bimonthly or quarterly. A magazine will usually have a date on the cover which often is later than the date it is actually published. Current magazines are generally available at bookstores and newsstands, while subscribers can receive them in the mail. Many magazines also offer a 'back issue' service for previously published editions.
Most magazines produced on a commercial scale are printed using a web offset process. The magazine is printed in sections, typically of 16 pages, which may be black-and-white, be in full colour, or use spot colour. These sections are then bound, either by stapling them within a soft cover in a process sometimes referred to as 'saddle-stitching', or by gluing them together to form a spine, a process often called 'perfect-binding'
Magazines are also published on the internet. Many magazines are available both on the internet and in hard copy, usually in different versions, though some are only available in hard copy or only via the internet: the latter are known as online magazines.
Most magazines are available in the whole of the country in which they are published, although some are distributed only in specific regions or cities. Others are available internationally, often in different editions for each country or area of the world, varying to some degree in editorial and advertising content but not entirely dissimilar


Magazines fall into two broad categories: consumer magazines and business magazines. In practice, magazines are a subset of periodicals, distinct from those periodicals produced by scientific, artistic, academic or special interest publishers which are subscription-only, more expensive, narrowly limited in circulation, and often have little or no advertising. Many business magazines are available only, or predominantly, on subscription. In some cases these subscriptions are available to any person prepared to pay; in others, free subscriptions are available to readers who meet a set of criteria established by the publisher. This practice, known as controlled circulation, is intended to guarantee to advertisers that the readership is relevant to their needs: they can assure their advertisers that most or all of their subscribers are in a position to buy the goods or services advertised. Very often the two models, of paid-for subscriptions and controlled circulation, are mixed. Advertising is also an important source of revenue for business magazines.

Other publications

Although similar to a magazine in some respects, an academic periodical featuring scholarly articles written in a more specialist register is usually called an "academic journal". Such publications typically carry little or no advertising. Articles are vetted by referees or a board of esteemed academics in the subject area.


The Gentleman's Magazine, first published in 1731, in London, is considered to have been the first general-interest magazine. Edward Cave, who edited The Gentleman's Magazine under the pen name "Sylvanus Urban", was the first to use the term "magazine" (meaning "storehouse") for a periodical.
periodical in Arabic: مجلة
periodical in Belarusian: Часопіс
periodical in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Часопіс
periodical in Bosnian: Magazin
periodical in Bulgarian: Списание
periodical in Catalan: Revista
periodical in Chuvash: Журнал
periodical in Czech: Časopis
periodical in Danish: Tidsskrift
periodical in German: Zeitschrift
periodical in Spanish: Revista
periodical in Esperanto: Revuo
periodical in Basque: Aldizkari
periodical in Persian: مجله
periodical in French: Magazine
periodical in Galician: Revista
periodical in Korean: 잡지
periodical in Indonesian: Majalah
periodical in Icelandic: Tímarit
periodical in Hebrew: כתב עת
periodical in Lithuanian: Žurnalas (spauda)
periodical in Malay (macrolanguage): Majalah
periodical in Dutch: Tijdschrift
periodical in Japanese: 雑誌
periodical in Norwegian: Tidsskrift
periodical in Norwegian Nynorsk: Tidsskrift
periodical in Narom: Magâsîn
periodical in Uzbek: Jurnal
periodical in Polish: Czasopismo
periodical in Portuguese: Revista
periodical in Russian: Журнал
periodical in Simple English: Magazine
periodical in Slovak: Časopis
periodical in Slovenian: Revija
periodical in Serbian: Модни часопис
periodical in Finnish: Aikakauslehti
periodical in Swedish: Tidskrift
periodical in Tagalog: Magasin
periodical in Thai: นิตยสาร
periodical in Turkish: Dergi
periodical in Ukrainian: Журнал
periodical in Walloon: Rivowe
periodical in Yiddish: מאגאזינע
periodical in Contenese: 雜誌
periodical in Chinese: 杂志

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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