Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

rhythm

play
noun \ˈri-thəm\

Simple Definition of rhythm

  • : a regular, repeated pattern of sounds or movements

  • : a regular, repeated pattern of events, changes, activities, etc.

Full Definition of rhythm

  1. 1 a :  an ordered recurrent alternation of strong and weak elements in the flow of sound and silence in speech b :  a particular example or form of rhythm <iambic rhythm>

  2. 2 a :  the aspect of music comprising all the elements (as accent, meter, and tempo) that relate to forward movement b :  a characteristic rhythmic pattern <rumba rhythm>; also :  1meter 2 c :  the group of instruments in a band supplying the rhythm —called also rhythm section

  3. 3 a :  movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements <the rhythms of country life> b :  the repetition in a literary work of phrase, incident, character type, or symbol

  4. 4 :  a regularly recurrent quantitative change in a variable biological process <a circadian rhythm> — compare biorhythm

  5. 5 :  the effect created by the elements in a play, movie, or novel that relate to the temporal development of the action

  6. 6 :  rhythm method

Examples of rhythm

  1. Jets that cross time zones in a day play havoc with the natural rhythms acquired through evolution. —Nancy Shelton, Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 1996

  2. They shattered punk orthodoxy with radical politics and jagged rhythms, their rage captured in brutally succinct outbursts. —Matt Diehl, Rolling Stone, 20 Oct. 1994

  3. I would even say that when the bouncy style is not an attempt to dazzle the reader, or one's self, but to incorporate into American literary prose the rhythms, nuances, and emphases of urban and immigrant speech, the result can sometimes be a language of new and rich emotional subtleties … —Philip Roth, Reading Myself and Others, 1975

  4. She walked as Doctor Reefy thought he had never seen anyone walk before. To her whole body there was a swing, a rhythm that intoxicated him. —Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio, 1919

  5. At that the others began to gibber in unison, also rising to their feet, spreading their hands and swaying their bodies in rhythm with their chant. —H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896

  6. the composer's use of jazz rhythm

  7. She enjoyed the rhythms of country life.

  8. Travel can disrupt your body's daily rhythm.



Origin of rhythm

Middle French & Latin; Middle French rhythme, from Latin rhythmus, from Greek rhythmos, probably from rhein to flow — more at stream


First Known Use: 1560


Medical Dictionary

rhythm

play
noun \ˈrith-əm\

Medical Definition of rhythm

  1. 1:  a regularly recurrent quantitative change in a variable biological process: asa:  the pattern of recurrence of the cardiac cycle <an irregular rhythm>b:  the recurring pattern of physical and functional changes associated with the mammalian and especially human sexual cycle

  2. 2:  rhythm method






Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up rhythm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

16.96 pounds 100 pounds 196.5 pounds 2.2 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ