rhythm

noun
\ 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

Synonyms

beat, cadence, measure, meter

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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

The Romans, like the Greeks, hadn’t used punctuation, and Cicero himself had expected readers to navigate his clauses by means of rhythm. Christopher Tayler, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 24 June 2019 Vance attributes his sense of rhythm and flexibility to his family. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kenosha ballplayer re-creates Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' video - while wearing shin guards," 23 June 2019 The rhythm of the track was that sound: the ch-ch, ch-ch. Steve Knopper, Billboard, "Truly Madly Indie: A2IM'S 2019 Indie Week & Libera Awards Preview," 17 June 2019 The man's heart, starved of oxygen, sped up into a malignant rhythm. Melissa Bailey, USA TODAY, "Miracle medical machine ECMO makes heroic rescues, but leaves patients in limbo," 17 June 2019 Albany beef This rhythm is easy to track in New York Times stories through that stretch. Andrew Revkin, National Geographic, "14-foot fish spotted in river, giving hope to vanished giant’s return," 7 Mar. 2019 Participate in an upbeat dance class that begins with a warm up to strengthen, stretch and improve flexibility and then moves into footwork, rhythm and isolations. Alan Goch, sun-sentinel.com, "Palm Beach central and north county events for June 19-25," 14 June 2019 But in tone, style and rhythm, the movie bears little resemblance to those earlier pictures (which did not, of course, particularly resemble each other). Justin Chang, Twin Cities, "‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ is a gorgeous, moving ode to a city in flux," 13 June 2019 The woofers give the Eneby exceptional bass response for this class of speaker, so hip-hop and rhythm-heavy rock really come off as punchy. Valentina Palladino And Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Ars picks 11 gifts you can get Dad for Father’s Day 2019," 11 June 2019

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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Learn More about rhythm

Statistics for rhythm

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rhythm

The first known use of rhythm was in 1560

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More Definitions for rhythm

rhythm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rhythm

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

rhythm

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

Kids Definition of rhythm

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

rhythm

noun
\ 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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Comments on rhythm

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