\ ˈri-t͟həm How to pronounce rhythm (audio) \

Definition of rhythm

1a : 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
2a : the aspect of music comprising all the elements (such as accent, meter, and tempo) that relate to forward movement
b : a characteristic rhythmic pattern rumba rhythm also : meter entry 1 sense 2
c : the group of instruments in a band supplying the rhythm

called also rhythm section

3a : 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 : a regularly recurrent quantitative change in a variable biological process a circadian rhythm — compare biorhythm
5 : the effect created by the elements in a play, movie, or novel that relate to the temporal development of the action

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Synonyms for rhythm


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Examples of rhythm in a Sentence

Jets that cross time zones in a day play havoc with the natural rhythms acquired through evolution. — Nancy Shelton, Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 1996 They shattered punk orthodoxy with radical politics and jagged rhythms, their rage captured in brutally succinct outbursts. — Matt Diehl, Rolling Stone, 20 Oct. 1994 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 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 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 the composer's use of jazz rhythm She enjoyed the rhythms of country life. Travel can disrupt your body's daily rhythm.
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Recent Examples on the Web Vucevic caught the pass in rhythm and sank the shot to give the Magic lead 71-64 late in the third quarter. Roy Parry, orlandosentinel.com, "Magic rookies Cole Anthony, Chuma Okeke focused on growth after positive debuts," 24 Dec. 2020 His two makes were both in-rhythm — a catch-and-shoot 3 and strong drive to the rim and finish through contact. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Sekou Doumbouya goes off in preseason victory vs. New York Knicks," 14 Dec. 2020 Hill identified it early and made a throw in rhythm at the top of his drop. Luke Johnson, NOLA.com, "Saints rewatch: Taysom Hill shows why he's starting quarterback material," 8 Dec. 2020 When Goff is in rhythm the Rams offense starts rolling, said Woods, who caught 10 passes for 85 yards. Gary Klein Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Jared Goff’s turnover-free performance helps lift Rams over Cardinals," 6 Dec. 2020 While many teams are using the final week of the regular-season to stay in rhythm before the playoffs, the outcome of Duncanville-Waxahachie had no playoff implications. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "TXHSFB schedule changes (Nov. 30-Dec. 5): Duncanville will enter playoffs with 2 consecutive cancelations," 1 Dec. 2020 The Long Sea crashed 50 feet below, kicking up spray in rhythm with the tide. Ew Staff, EW.com, "First look: Realm Breaker is your next YA fantasy obsession," 1 Dec. 2020 Had Mayfield trusted his feet and thrown in rhythm on his third step, touchdown. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "What Baker Mayfield is doing wrong — and right — with his red-zone throws: Film Review," 29 Nov. 2020 Up Next Saguaro looks to get its offense in rhythm at Maricopa next week while Brophy, with a brutal schedule, entertains Boulder Creek next week, with Pinnacle, Chaparral and Hamilton on the horizon. The Arizona Republic, "Week 2 Arizona high school football roundup: Saguaro shuts out Brophy in opener," 9 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rhythm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rhythm

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rhythm

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

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Time Traveler for rhythm

Time Traveler

The first known use of rhythm was in 1560

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Statistics for rhythm

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rhythm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhythm. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for rhythm


How to pronounce rhythm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rhythm

: a regular, repeated pattern of sounds or movements
: a regular, repeated pattern of events, changes, activities, etc.


\ ˈri-t͟həm How to pronounce rhythm (audio) \

Kids Definition of rhythm

: a regular repeated pattern of beats, sounds, activity, or movements


\ ˈrit͟h-əm How to pronounce rhythm (audio) \

Medical Definition of rhythm

1 : a regularly recurrent quantitative change in a variable biological process: as
a : 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

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