n. (context chemistry English) a cyclic macromolecule, or a macrocyclic portion of a molecule
A macrocycle is, as defined by IUPAC, "a cyclic macromolecule or a macromolecular cyclic portion of a molecule." In the chemical literature, macrocycles varyingly include molecules containing rings of 8 or more atoms, or 12 or more atoms. Well-known examples are the group of drugs known as macrolides. The IUPAC definition notes that a "cyclic macromolecule has no end-groups but may nevertheless be regarded as a chain," and that "macrocycle is sometimes used [in the literature] for molecules of low relative molecular mass that are not considered macromolecules. Many macrocycles are employed as macrocyclic ligands.