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

Each battled through mistakes and neither was able to establish a good rhythm in a game televised on ESPNU. Chace Bryson, SFChronicle.com, "Turnovers costly for De La Salle in loss to Florida team," 24 Aug. 2019 One other thing: Horseshoe crabs have a strong tidal rhythm. Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics, "The Blood of the Crab," 23 Aug. 2019 Steering clear of overt politics, Mak falls into a comfortable family drama rhythm that passes the (over-abused) Bechdel test with flying colors. Elizabeth Kerr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fagara' ('Huajiao zhiwei'): Film Review," 14 Aug. 2019 There are two songs of the Salton Sea: The first is a 58-decibel natural rhythm of birds tweeting, water gently lapping, wind racing over the glassy surface. Jennifer Emerling, National Geographic, "Seeking silence on a California road trip," 6 Aug. 2019 Some intersections have a rhythm to them, requiring lights to be activated in a repeatable pattern to finish flawlessly. Michael Moore, The Verge, "Traffix is a puzzle game that gives you the complete control of traffic lights you always wanted," 4 Aug. 2019 There is a rhythm in the repetition of the forms and spacing that feels both sculptural and like a wall painting. Darryl Ratcliff, Dallas News, "Latina artists in Dallas showcase 'were told ‘no,’ and they triumphed anyway’," 25 July 2019 The thump-thump-thump of the pump creates a rhythm kind of like the ocean. Karina Bland, azcentral, "Vacations end, but it doesn't mean we can't find the feeling again," 19 July 2019 Breathing while running has never taken on a natural rhythm for me. Andrea Pitzer, Outside Online, "I (Kinda) Hate Running," 9 July 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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Statistics for rhythm

Last Updated

27 Aug 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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