Definition of rhythm in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈriT͟Həm/


1A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound: Ruth listened to the rhythm of his breathing
More example sentences
  • It took him awhile to get back to sleep, but finally he did, and I watched him, listening to the strong rhythm of his heart.
  • Their sneakers pounded out a staccato rhythm at a pace so fast that ‘Lord of the Dance’'s Michael Flatley would be envious.
  • On TV medical dramas, the clichéd sighs of relief come when the patient's heartbeat settles into a strong, regular rhythm.
1.1The systematic arrangement of musical sounds, principally according to duration and periodic stress.
Example sentences
  • Later, students would be asked to layer the three components of rhythm: the small beat, large beat and melodic rhythm of the piece.
  • This arrangement presents few problems in technique, tessitura, rhythm, ensemble or endurance.
  • He juggles multiple systems of rhythm, melody, structure and timbre.
1.2A particular type of pattern formed by rhythm: guitar melodies with deep African rhythms
More example sentences
  • Whether it's in the form of romantic melody, upbeat Swing Jazz or exotic world rhythms, the live musical experience adds a unique presence and excitement to any event.
  • Unstintingly melodic, he wrote in long, arching lines that contradicted the jagged, urban rhythms of Copland and Bernstein, his close contemporaries.
  • Deneff exploits rock idioms, such as rapidly repeated chords, ostinato bass lines and syncopated rhythms, but with little variation of content.
1.3A person’s natural feeling for rhythm: they’ve got no rhythm
More example sentences
  • As for activity on the dance floor, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa proved that not all Brazilians have a natural sense of rhythm.
  • While a natural sense of rhythm helps, most folks can learn the steps and become familiar through practice, he says.
  • Too few dancers seem to me to have even a decent sense of rhythm, let alone demonstrate musical understanding.
1.4The measured flow of words and phrases in verse or prose as determined by the relation of long and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.
Example sentences
  • He experimented constantly with rhythms and stresses and verse forms, disliking and avoiding any facile flow.
  • The verse rhythm should have its effect upon the hearers without their being conscious of it.
  • Traditional poetry, with its innate rhythm and alliteration, as well as free verse focusing on social issues, flowed from her pen.
meter, measure, stress, accent, cadence
1.5A regularly recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes: the twice daily rhythms of the tides
More example sentences
  • The existence of daily rhythms in the regulation of many body processes has been well documented in the last 50 years.
  • For over three centuries we have been attempting to separate our selves from the organic processes and rhythms of the natural world.
  • Such internal clocks are known as circadian clocks, which are tuned to biological rhythms that recur on a daily basis.
1.6 Art A harmonious sequence or correlation of colors or elements.
Example sentences
  • Their easy, rolling rhythms and rich colouring influenced many other Canadian landscape painters.
  • The patterns, viewable from the Price Tower as a roof facade, contrast with the angular, syncopated rhythms of Wright's design.
  • Pollock's solution was to study and copy the compositions of the old masters so intently that he internalized their rhythms.



Example sentences
  • The music is stark and odd, composed largely of out-of-tune singing, rhythmless guitar plucking, and merciless assaults on a piano.
  • But this sort of abstract use of hooks in the context of beat-heavy but rhythmless compositions somehow comes together in a really viscerally graspable way.
  • She paused long enough to let the change of direction take effect, then resumed the rapid, rhythmless speech.


Mid 16th century (also originally in the sense 'rhyme'): from French rhythme, or via Latin from Greek rhuthmos (related to rhein 'to flow').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: rhythm

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