Definition of rhythm in English:



  • 1A strong, regular repeated pattern of movement or sound.

    ‘Ruth listened to the rhythm of his breathing’
    • ‘I was drawn deeper into sleep as I listened to Mother's sweet song with the natural beat and rhythm of the sea accompanying her.’
    • ‘To understand the power of rhythm, jump in and hang on if you're lucky enough to be able to ski for even a short distance behind a better skier.’
    • ‘Peripheral pulses (radial and femoral) also should be measured for rate and rhythm and to rule out coarctation of the aorta.’
    • ‘There was a flow and rhythm to the Hockeyroos performance - especially in the first half - which the Black Sticks couldn't match.’
    • ‘I also have to acknowledge the influence that music has on my work as it contributes to the studio atmosphere and establishes the rhythm for making art.’
    • ‘Similarly, the most soothing music usually beats at about 70 to 80 tones per minute, which resembles the natural rhythm of a heartbeat.’
    • ‘The measured rhythm of their hoofs gave point to her words.’
    • ‘No little heart has beat so strong a rhythm into us.’
    • ‘The repetition of the sounds in the carpenter school becomes a natural background rhythm.’
    • ‘The most common causes include thickening of heart muscle and irregularities of the electrical impulses that control the natural rhythm of the heart.’
    • ‘All of the dancers created amazing syncopated rhythms through just small movements of their feet, never losing a beat.’
    • ‘The laughter behind me faded, then ceased altogether, and I collapsed to the ground, my breath slowly returning to its natural rhythm.’
    • ‘On TV medical dramas, the clichéd sighs of relief come when the patient's heartbeat settles into a strong, regular rhythm.’
    • ‘I love the rhythm of the movement and the fact that you don't need to think - it frees your thoughts.’
    • ‘She found herself making up a song, to the slow rhythm of his regular breathing, to the tune of her thoughts.’
    • ‘As a result, your stroke will be shorter, your rhythm will be off and you'll probably swim slower than you're capable of doing.’
    • ‘There is a retinal torquing of the field color that is pushed further by the interlocking order of the columns, which establishes a sequential rhythm or pulse.’
    • ‘Their sneakers pounded out a staccato rhythm at a pace so fast that ‘Lord of the Dance’'s Michael Flatley would be envious.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You yourself will certainly feel the rhythm, slack or strong, high or low, taut or loose.’
    pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]The systematic arrangement of musical sounds, principally according to duration and periodical stress.
      ‘he made her count beats to the bar and clap the rhythm’
      • ‘On record, he is a master of filling spaces with innovative licks, whilst still leaving enough room for the music's swing and rhythm to ease the tunes along.’
      • ‘Chapters cover finding notes on the piano, hand positioning and an introduction to rhythm and musical notation.’
      • ‘This arrangement presents few problems in technique, tessitura, rhythm, ensemble or endurance.’
      • ‘Rentfrow thinks that personality clues are conveyed in the music's tempo, rhythm and lyrics.’
      • ‘He juggles multiple systems of rhythm, melody, structure and timbre.’
      • ‘This topic is relevant because music is more than just voice, rhythm, beat, melody but lyrics.’
      • ‘Trotter uses this music to introduce octaves, accented rhythms, a whole tone scale and a continuous cross-hand pattern.’
      • ‘Do you avoid musical fundamentals like rhythm, pitch, harmony; or are you incorporating them, trying to assimilate them?’
      • ‘My approach to classical ballet technique is relatively plain, and with an emphasis on rhythm and musical phrasing.’
      • ‘Musical concepts like rhythm, pace, and the use of themes and variations can help us understand the mixed feelings Letter arouses.’
      • ‘The sonic image I get from an ideal realization of tempo and rhythm is Pegasus on the wing: powerful and effortless.’
      • ‘The band is stingy with its arrangements, bringing in the simplest bits of melody or rhythm only at the most necessary moments.’
      • ‘The second movement, in triple rhythm, is Copland ‘big shoulder’ music trimmed to the chamber ensemble.’
      • ‘A student who has a solid grasp of rhythm and pulse is much more likely to correctly notate the pitches of a melody.’
      • ‘Later, students would be asked to layer the three components of rhythm: the small beat, large beat and melodic rhythm of the piece.’
      • ‘An example of music and its bodily origin is found in the way in which individuals perceive and respond to musical rhythm.’
      • ‘This tough, touching account of a young life redundantly snuffed out by police prejudice is steeped in musical rhythm and fluidity.’
      • ‘It covers all the basic areas of general music, including rhythm, pitch, dynamics, tempo, texture, form and tone color.’
      • ‘The Appendix contains nine short rhythm and pattern exercises that Attwood provided in his original edition and they are well suited to the level of the music.’
      • ‘These many editorial changes include alterations in dynamic contrasts, tempo indications and rhythm.’
      beat, cadence, tempo, time, pace, pulse, throb, lilt, swing
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    2. 1.2A particular pattern formed by musical rhythm.
      ‘melodies with deep African rhythms’
      • ‘Yet far from being too depressed, the upbeat rhythms and musical arrangements give rise to an uplifting single that boasts a terrific chorus in a style reminiscent of Jeff Buckley and that type of songwriter.’
      • ‘I need my little musical rhythm to wrap me up and shush me tenderly as I wonder about the black-haired girl, and the basilisks in the hotel lobby.’
      • ‘Nils Petter Molvaer, an electric jazz player is a virtuoso trumpet player who endows his music with exotic elements and broken rhythms.’
      • ‘The whole piece is structured around rhythm, rhythm produced by various musical instruments used in different parts of India.’
      • ‘Vocals are somewhat irrelevant though because it's the music that really seeks for the soul, and the human element inside rhythms as catchy as these cannot help but uplift people.’
      • ‘The octometric (eight stress) ground rhythm is firmly established in the first two lines.’
      • ‘Lucian started up behind her, rapping out a short, simple rhythm to trigger the rest of the instruments.’
      • ‘He has nothing to do with the choppy rhythms of the Rococo, nor its obvious confession of make-believe.’
      • ‘Drum-thumping salsa rhythms carried the procession through the city as showers of flowers were thrown from a large tower to people below.’
      • ‘Careful listening enhances children's learning of a song, rhythm or complete musical piece.’
      • ‘As Montreal finally heats up just in time for festival season, the familiar colours and rhythms of Carifiesta are just around the corner.’
      • ‘Irresistible rhythms, glorious colour and costumes, and oodles of talent melded with skilful direction into a whammy of a production!’
      • ‘This will no doubt be a joyful event of global dance rhythms and songs, so bring your dancing shoes and get ready to be uplifted.’
      • ‘These albums showcase the band's unique blend of traditional rhythms and elements of jazz, pop, jazz-fusion and classical.’
      • ‘Every kind of move has a specific musical rhythm.’
      • ‘Unstintingly melodic, he wrote in long, arching lines that contradicted the jagged, urban rhythms of Copland and Bernstein, his close contemporaries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This counterpoint rhythm, of natural and man-made elements, alludes to both classical and modern musical forms.’
      • ‘I had wondered what sound worlds, tonal colours and rhythms Hiorthøy might proffer.’
      • ‘Deneff exploits rock idioms, such as rapidly repeated chords, ostinato bass lines and syncopated rhythms, but with little variation of content.’
    3. 1.3[mass noun]A person's natural feeling for musical rhythm.
      ‘they've got no rhythm’
      • ‘Too few dancers seem to me to have even a decent sense of rhythm, let alone demonstrate musical understanding.’
      • ‘The performance here is a testimony to Brain's knowledge and appreciation of Beethoven and also to his keen sense of balance and rhythm.’
      • ‘His talent is amazing, his superb phrasing and sense of rhythm as flawless as a perfectly cut diamond.’
      • ‘Both women have great natural rhythm, something that cannot be said for the entire troupe.’
      • ‘The band's natural rhythm and fast tempo is likely also at the heart of its loyal following.’
      • ‘People with no sense of rhythm try to clap along to the music.’
      • ‘In the third movement, Tennstedt found a certain sense of formal rhythm that is in perfect balance with the drive and impetus that he generates in the fourth.’
      • ‘Shay offers something to the effect that he was amazed that white boys should have such incredible natural rhythm.’
      • ‘This may include practicing for a predetermined amount of time per day or utilizing the metronome to improve rhythm.’
      • ‘I had to learn patience and how to find my natural rhythm.’
      • ‘While a natural sense of rhythm helps, most folks can learn the steps and become familiar through practice, he says.’
      • ‘They're all played with a fantastically organic sense of rhythm and the 1st violins shine throughout.’
      • ‘As for activity on the dance floor, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa proved that not all Brazilians have a natural sense of rhythm.’
      • ‘He had natural rhythm and he'd drum on pots and pans.’
      • ‘After so many scenes of hearing actors sing their non-rhyming, no rhythm, slow-moving musical dialogue, he's definitely a sound for sore ears.’
      • ‘However, what they all had in common was great musical rhythm, enthusiasm, and ability.’
      • ‘For me, the key to finding my natural rhythm is familiarity.’
      • ‘She balances ear training, exercises for rhythm, technique and music theory with repertoire at the sight-reading level.’
      • ‘The Ethel string quartet have got rhythm - the kind that puts music back on its feet’
      • ‘Her sense of rhythm is perfect, which shows in both her singing and her dancing.’
      pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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  • 2[mass noun] The measured flow of words and phrases in verse or prose as determined by the relation of long and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.

    ‘the rhythm, pattern, and cadence of words’
    [count noun] ‘limericks have a characteristic rhythm and rhyme scheme’
    • ‘His speciality is ‘chatting’ - rhythm and rhyme in words spoken very fast over the top of garage or drum ‘n’ bass music.’
    • ‘His attempt to define effective prose rhythm technically is one of the most curious and interesting parts of his preface.’
    • ‘And the poetic rhythm and verse of the script gently takes the audience along for the ride.’
    • ‘Lost in the rhythm of the verse, you are hardly conscious that it was first expressed in Spanish.’
    • ‘In the underground cellar bars and cafes of San Francisco, performance poetry was blending the rhyme and rhythm of the spoken word with free jazz.’
    • ‘The verse rhythm should have its effect upon the hearers without their being conscious of it.’
    • ‘Part of the beauty of Cold Roses lies in the effortless free-flowing rhythm of the words coupled with bittersweet lyrics.’
    • ‘Sheff injects poetry into his words through repetition and rhythm, sometimes as interdependent traits.’
    • ‘Come to think of it, though, the relations between meter and rhythm are not unlike those between sex and love.’
    • ‘Traditional poetry, with its innate rhythm and alliteration, as well as free verse focusing on social issues, flowed from her pen.’
    • ‘It is through an unexpected blending of rhythm and syntax that his prose yields the remarkable or compelling image.’
    • ‘So the short rhythm just works better for you than a longer narrative.’
    • ‘Page was familiar with verse - especially the cadence and rhythm of the nursery rhyme - and with the idea of creating one's own books.’
    • ‘The rhythm of the word resonates easily in the mind.’
    • ‘Since lyrics consist of three things, words, melody and rhythm, each one is considered separately.’
    • ‘I would sail away to fantastic places that existed only in the deep recesses of my mind and describe them in verse heavy with rhythm.’
    • ‘Such features are very prominent in nursery rhymes and ballads, where frequently pleasure lies in rhythm, incantation, and strangeness of image.’
    • ‘Writers may choose to repeat words or phrases for emphasis or rhythm.’
    • ‘He wanted the words to sound beautiful, and sometimes meaning is actually less important than the sound and rhythm of the words.’
    • ‘He experimented constantly with rhythms and stresses and verse forms, disliking and avoiding any facile flow.’
    metre, measure, pattern, stress, accent, pulse, time, flow, cadence
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  • 3A regularly recurring sequence of events or processes.

    ‘the twice daily rhythms of the tides’
    • ‘Nowadays, though, consumer trends increasingly interfere with the natural rhythm of the farmers' calendar.’
    • ‘The existence of daily rhythms in the regulation of many body processes has been well documented in the last 50 years.’
    • ‘Hypocotyl extension in rapid shade avoidance therefore coincides with the seedling's natural endogenous rhythm of elongation growth.’
    • ‘Starting on Sunday in Las Vegas, the Nextel Cup season will finally glide into its natural rhythm.’
    • ‘Sometimes they explicitly enforce it, sometimes it just sorts itself out in the natural rhythm of being two people with two lives.’
    • ‘When things began to flow out of rhythm, you knew something had gone wrong.’
    • ‘The strongest hand of The Cincinnati Kid is that it captures the highs and lows and natural rhythm of a marathon poker game.’
    • ‘The cycle goes up and down, part of that natural rhythm.’
    • ‘The body's natural rhythm of waking and sleeping is about 25 hours.’
    • ‘True to the spirit of the recommendation, it was a Monday lunchtime - not, of course, the best time to visit any restaurant if you want to benefit from the natural rhythm of the catering week.’
    • ‘Coast dwellers are accustomed to the daily rhythm of the tides, which are primarily lulled in and out by the gentle gravitational tug of the moon.’
    • ‘The notion that cities are removed from the natural rhythm of the seasons is pervasive.’
    • ‘Some futurists have said that we'll need to be more inventive, creative, and flexible to handle the tasks, flow and rhythm of life in this century and beyond.’
    • ‘You can't read very far in any direction in the Bible without realizing that fasting was part of the natural rhythm of life for the people of God.’
    • ‘Feeding them disrupts their natural rhythm: they get hooked on people-food and forget about the food they've buried.’
    • ‘When we interrupt the natural rhythm of day and night for any reason - even reveling - we risk setting off a cascade of problems.’
    • ‘The sound of your environment is essential to your overall well-being since it impacts the frequency of your body, your own natural rhythm.’
    • ‘Such internal clocks are known as circadian clocks, which are tuned to biological rhythms that recur on a daily basis.’
    • ‘Nothing beats the natural rhythm of tropical island life and kayaking is the way to experience it, writes Catherine Lawson.’
    • ‘For over three centuries we have been attempting to separate our selves from the organic processes and rhythms of the natural world.’
    pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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    1. 3.1Art A harmonious sequence or correlation of colours or elements.
      ‘in Art Nouveau, the flow and rhythm of a design became pre-eminent’
      • ‘Pollock's solution was to study and copy the compositions of the old masters so intently that he internalized their rhythms.’
      • ‘Bare surfaces and a grille of tiny windows, tinged with rhythms of burning colour by Marguerite Huré, intensify the claustrophobia.’
      • ‘I think of the painting of the lion and the tamer, with its own rhythm, where the colours keep on moving with a strange music of their own.’
      • ‘The patterns, viewable from the Price Tower as a roof facade, contrast with the angular, syncopated rhythms of Wright's design.’
      • ‘Their easy, rolling rhythms and rich colouring influenced many other Canadian landscape painters.’


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