I've always seen cycles in graphs described as containing three or more vertices. I had a question posed to me today that I now pose to you: Is it valid to consider a pair of vertices connected by a single edge in an undirected graph to be a cycle?

More concretely, given the following undirected graph:

 \ /

Obviously, (c, b, a, c) is a cycle. Is (c, d, c)? Why or why not?

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    $\begingroup$ The edges in a cycle must be distinct, whatever its length. $cabac $ isn't a cycle either. $\endgroup$ – MJD Sep 2 '14 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, of course. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – asciiphil Sep 2 '14 at 11:11

once this doubt occurred to me. It seams trivial, but when I am on doubt I always look for strong definitions, so this is what I found.

I will cite the definition of cycle in the book of Diestel, Graph Theory [http://www.flooved.com/reader/3447?no-redirect#16]

Page 8: "If $P=x_0 ... x_{k-1}$ is a path and $k \geq 3$, then the graph $C:=P+x_{k-1}x_0$ is called a cycle."

Thus $cdc$ is not a cycle because $cd$ is not a path with more than two vertices.

But what about $cdcdc$? It would be a path if $cdcd$ would. However, according Diestel definition of path (page 6) all vertices of a path are different.


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