Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency, which emphasizes the contrast to spatial frequency and angular frequency. The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency. For example, if a newborn baby's heart beats at a frequency of 120 times a minute, its period – the interval between beats – is half a second (60 seconds (i.e. a minute) divided by 120 beats).
In some fields, especially where frequency-domain analysis is used, the concept of frequency is applied only to sinusoidal phenomena, since in linear systems more complex periodic and nonperiodic phonomena are most easily analyzed in terms of sums of sinusoids of different frequencies.
To learn more about frequency, amplitude, and wavelength, check out the BBC's excellent Introduction to Waves