Definition of rhythm in English:



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

    ‘Ruth listened to the rhythm of his breathing’
    • ‘There was a flow and rhythm to the Hockeyroos performance - especially in the first half - which the Black Sticks couldn't match.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All of the dancers created amazing syncopated rhythms through just small movements of their feet, never losing a beat.’
    • ‘On TV medical dramas, the clichéd sighs of relief come when the patient's heartbeat settles into a strong, regular rhythm.’
    • ‘The laughter behind me faded, then ceased altogether, and I collapsed to the ground, my breath slowly returning to its natural rhythm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The most common causes include thickening of heart muscle and irregularities of the electrical impulses that control the natural rhythm of the heart.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Similarly, the most soothing music usually beats at about 70 to 80 tones per minute, which resembles the natural rhythm of a heartbeat.’
    • ‘You yourself will certainly feel the rhythm, slack or strong, high or low, taut or loose.’
    • ‘The measured rhythm of their hoofs gave point to her words.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their sneakers pounded out a staccato rhythm at a pace so fast that ‘Lord of the Dance’'s Michael Flatley would be envious.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Peripheral pulses (radial and femoral) also should be measured for rate and rhythm and to rule out coarctation of the aorta.’
    • ‘I love the rhythm of the movement and the fact that you don't need to think - it frees your thoughts.’
    pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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    1. 1.1mass 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’
      • ‘Later, students would be asked to layer the three components of rhythm: the small beat, large beat and melodic rhythm of the piece.’
      • ‘Trotter uses this music to introduce octaves, accented rhythms, a whole tone scale and a continuous cross-hand pattern.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sonic image I get from an ideal realization of tempo and rhythm is Pegasus on the wing: powerful and effortless.’
      • ‘It covers all the basic areas of general music, including rhythm, pitch, dynamics, tempo, texture, form and tone color.’
      • ‘He juggles multiple systems of rhythm, melody, structure and timbre.’
      • ‘This tough, touching account of a young life redundantly snuffed out by police prejudice is steeped in musical rhythm and fluidity.’
      • ‘Rentfrow thinks that personality clues are conveyed in the music's tempo, rhythm and lyrics.’
      • ‘Do you avoid musical fundamentals like rhythm, pitch, harmony; or are you incorporating them, trying to assimilate them?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These many editorial changes include alterations in dynamic contrasts, tempo indications and rhythm.’
      • ‘An example of music and its bodily origin is found in the way in which individuals perceive and respond to musical rhythm.’
      • ‘The second movement, in triple rhythm, is Copland ‘big shoulder’ music trimmed to the chamber ensemble.’
      • ‘This topic is relevant because music is more than just voice, rhythm, beat, melody but lyrics.’
      • ‘The band is stingy with its arrangements, bringing in the simplest bits of melody or rhythm only at the most necessary moments.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Musical concepts like rhythm, pace, and the use of themes and variations can help us understand the mixed feelings Letter arouses.’
      • ‘My approach to classical ballet technique is relatively plain, and with an emphasis on rhythm and musical phrasing.’
      • ‘A student who has a solid grasp of rhythm and pulse is much more likely to correctly notate the pitches of a melody.’
      beat, cadence, tempo, time, pace, pulse, throb, lilt, swing
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    2. 1.2 A particular pattern formed by musical rhythm.
      ‘melodies with deep African rhythms’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Deneff exploits rock idioms, such as rapidly repeated chords, ostinato bass lines and syncopated rhythms, but with little variation of content.’
      • ‘Every kind of move has a specific musical rhythm.’
      • ‘Drum-thumping salsa rhythms carried the procession through the city as showers of flowers were thrown from a large tower to people below.’
      • ‘Lucian started up behind her, rapping out a short, simple rhythm to trigger the rest of the instruments.’
      • ‘The whole piece is structured around rhythm, rhythm produced by various musical instruments used in different parts of India.’
      • ‘Unstintingly melodic, he wrote in long, arching lines that contradicted the jagged, urban rhythms of Copland and Bernstein, his close contemporaries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These albums showcase the band's unique blend of traditional rhythms and elements of jazz, pop, jazz-fusion and classical.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Careful listening enhances children's learning of a song, rhythm or complete musical piece.’
      • ‘The octometric (eight stress) ground rhythm is firmly established in the first two lines.’
      • ‘This counterpoint rhythm, of natural and man-made elements, alludes to both classical and modern musical forms.’
      • ‘He has nothing to do with the choppy rhythms of the Rococo, nor its obvious confession of make-believe.’
      • ‘As Montreal finally heats up just in time for festival season, the familiar colours and rhythms of Carifiesta are just around the corner.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Irresistible rhythms, glorious colour and costumes, and oodles of talent melded with skilful direction into a whammy of a production!’
      • ‘Nils Petter Molvaer, an electric jazz player is a virtuoso trumpet player who endows his music with exotic elements and broken rhythms.’
      • ‘I had wondered what sound worlds, tonal colours and rhythms Hiorthøy might proffer.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3mass noun A person's natural feeling for musical rhythm.
      ‘they've got no rhythm’
      • ‘Both women have great natural rhythm, something that cannot be said for the entire troupe.’
      • ‘People with no sense of rhythm try to clap along to the music.’
      • ‘She balances ear training, exercises for rhythm, technique and music theory with repertoire at the sight-reading level.’
      • ‘However, what they all had in common was great musical rhythm, enthusiasm, and ability.’
      • ‘The Ethel string quartet have got rhythm - the kind that puts music back on its feet’
      • ‘The band's natural rhythm and fast tempo is likely also at the heart of its loyal following.’
      • ‘They're all played with a fantastically organic sense of rhythm and the 1st violins shine throughout.’
      • ‘While a natural sense of rhythm helps, most folks can learn the steps and become familiar through practice, he says.’
      • ‘His talent is amazing, his superb phrasing and sense of rhythm as flawless as a perfectly cut diamond.’
      • ‘This may include practicing for a predetermined amount of time per day or utilizing the metronome to improve rhythm.’
      • ‘For me, the key to finding my natural rhythm is familiarity.’
      • ‘As for activity on the dance floor, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa proved that not all Brazilians have a natural sense of rhythm.’
      • ‘The performance here is a testimony to Brain's knowledge and appreciation of Beethoven and also to his keen sense of balance and rhythm.’
      • ‘Too few dancers seem to me to have even a decent sense of rhythm, let alone demonstrate musical understanding.’
      • ‘I had to learn patience and how to find my natural rhythm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He had natural rhythm and he'd drum on pots and pans.’
      • ‘Her sense of rhythm is perfect, which shows in both her singing and her dancing.’
      • ‘Shay offers something to the effect that he was amazed that white boys should have such incredible natural rhythm.’
      pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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  • 2mass 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’
    • ‘Lost in the rhythm of the verse, you are hardly conscious that it was first expressed in Spanish.’
    • ‘He experimented constantly with rhythms and stresses and verse forms, disliking and avoiding any facile flow.’
    • ‘It is through an unexpected blending of rhythm and syntax that his prose yields the remarkable or compelling image.’
    • ‘Since lyrics consist of three things, words, melody and rhythm, each one is considered separately.’
    • ‘Sheff injects poetry into his words through repetition and rhythm, sometimes as interdependent traits.’
    • ‘Page was familiar with verse - especially the cadence and rhythm of the nursery rhyme - and with the idea of creating one's own books.’
    • ‘So the short rhythm just works better for you than a longer narrative.’
    • ‘And the poetic rhythm and verse of the script gently takes the audience along for the ride.’
    • ‘Traditional poetry, with its innate rhythm and alliteration, as well as free verse focusing on social issues, flowed from her pen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He wanted the words to sound beautiful, and sometimes meaning is actually less important than the sound and rhythm of the words.’
    • ‘Writers may choose to repeat words or phrases for emphasis or rhythm.’
    • ‘Part of the beauty of Cold Roses lies in the effortless free-flowing rhythm of the words coupled with bittersweet lyrics.’
    • ‘His speciality is ‘chatting’ - rhythm and rhyme in words spoken very fast over the top of garage or drum ‘n’ bass music.’
    • ‘The verse rhythm should have its effect upon the hearers without their being conscious of it.’
    • ‘His attempt to define effective prose rhythm technically is one of the most curious and interesting parts of his preface.’
    • ‘The rhythm of the word resonates easily in the mind.’
    • ‘Such features are very prominent in nursery rhymes and ballads, where frequently pleasure lies in rhythm, incantation, and strangeness of image.’
    • ‘Come to think of it, though, the relations between meter and rhythm are not unlike those between sex and love.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘The notion that cities are removed from the natural rhythm of the seasons is pervasive.’
    • ‘The cycle goes up and down, part of that natural rhythm.’
    • ‘Feeding them disrupts their natural rhythm: they get hooked on people-food and forget about the food they've buried.’
    • ‘The strongest hand of The Cincinnati Kid is that it captures the highs and lows and natural rhythm of a marathon poker game.’
    • ‘The sound of your environment is essential to your overall well-being since it impacts the frequency of your body, your own natural rhythm.’
    • ‘Starting on Sunday in Las Vegas, the Nextel Cup season will finally glide into its natural rhythm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When things began to flow out of rhythm, you knew something had gone wrong.’
    • ‘Nowadays, though, consumer trends increasingly interfere with the natural rhythm of the farmers' calendar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sometimes they explicitly enforce it, sometimes it just sorts itself out in the natural rhythm of being two people with two lives.’
    • ‘Hypocotyl extension in rapid shade avoidance therefore coincides with the seedling's natural endogenous rhythm of elongation growth.’
    • ‘For over three centuries we have been attempting to separate our selves from the organic processes and rhythms of the natural world.’
    • ‘The body's natural rhythm of waking and sleeping is about 25 hours.’
    • ‘Nothing beats the natural rhythm of tropical island life and kayaking is the way to experience it, writes Catherine Lawson.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Such internal clocks are known as circadian clocks, which are tuned to biological rhythms that recur on a daily basis.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When we interrupt the natural rhythm of day and night for any reason - even reveling - we risk setting off a cascade of problems.’
    • ‘The existence of daily rhythms in the regulation of many body processes has been well documented in the last 50 years.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bare surfaces and a grille of tiny windows, tinged with rhythms of burning colour by Marguerite Huré, intensify the claustrophobia.’
      • ‘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.’


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