Definition of rhythm in English:



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

    ‘Ruth listened to the rhythm of his breathing’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The repetition of the sounds in the carpenter school becomes a natural background rhythm.’
    • ‘All of the dancers created amazing syncopated rhythms through just small movements of their feet, never losing a beat.’
    • ‘Similarly, the most soothing music usually beats at about 70 to 80 tones per minute, which resembles the natural rhythm of a heartbeat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The most common causes include thickening of heart muscle and irregularities of the electrical impulses that control the natural rhythm of the 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a flow and rhythm to the Hockeyroos performance - especially in the first half - which the Black Sticks couldn't match.’
    • ‘The laughter behind me faded, then ceased altogether, and I collapsed to the ground, my breath slowly returning to its natural rhythm.’
    • ‘No little heart has beat so strong a rhythm into us.’
    • ‘Their sneakers pounded out a staccato rhythm at a pace so fast that ‘Lord of the Dance’'s Michael Flatley would be envious.’
    • ‘You yourself will certainly feel the rhythm, slack or strong, high or low, taut or loose.’
    • ‘Peripheral pulses (radial and femoral) also should be measured for rate and rhythm and to rule out coarctation of the aorta.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On TV medical dramas, the clichéd sighs of relief come when the patient's heartbeat settles into a strong, regular rhythm.’
    • ‘The measured rhythm of their hoofs gave point to her words.’
    • ‘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.’
    pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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    1. 1.1The systematic arrangement of musical sounds, principally according to duration and periodic stress.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An example of music and its bodily origin is found in the way in which individuals perceive and respond to musical rhythm.’
      • ‘Rentfrow thinks that personality clues are conveyed in the music's tempo, rhythm and lyrics.’
      • ‘This topic is relevant because music is more than just voice, rhythm, beat, melody but lyrics.’
      • ‘These many editorial changes include alterations in dynamic contrasts, tempo indications and rhythm.’
      • ‘Trotter uses this music to introduce octaves, accented rhythms, a whole tone scale and a continuous cross-hand pattern.’
      • ‘The band is stingy with its arrangements, bringing in the simplest bits of melody or rhythm only at the most necessary moments.’
      • ‘Musical concepts like rhythm, pace, and the use of themes and variations can help us understand the mixed feelings Letter arouses.’
      • ‘Later, students would be asked to layer the three components of rhythm: the small beat, large beat and melodic rhythm of the piece.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The second movement, in triple rhythm, is Copland ‘big shoulder’ music trimmed to the chamber ensemble.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A student who has a solid grasp of rhythm and pulse is much more likely to correctly notate the pitches of a melody.’
      • ‘My approach to classical ballet technique is relatively plain, and with an emphasis on rhythm and musical phrasing.’
      • ‘The sonic image I get from an ideal realization of tempo and rhythm is Pegasus on the wing: powerful and effortless.’
      • ‘This tough, touching account of a young life redundantly snuffed out by police prejudice is steeped in musical rhythm and fluidity.’
      • ‘He juggles multiple systems of rhythm, melody, structure and timbre.’
      • ‘Do you avoid musical fundamentals like rhythm, pitch, harmony; or are you incorporating them, trying to assimilate them?’
      beat, cadence, tempo, time, pace, pulse, throb, lilt, swing
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    2. 1.2A particular type of pattern formed by rhythm.
      ‘guitar melodies with deep African rhythms’
      • ‘This counterpoint rhythm, of natural and man-made elements, alludes to both classical and modern musical forms.’
      • ‘Irresistible rhythms, glorious colour and costumes, and oodles of talent melded with skilful direction into a whammy of a production!’
      • ‘The octometric (eight stress) ground rhythm is firmly established in the first two lines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As Montreal finally heats up just in time for festival season, the familiar colours and rhythms of Carifiesta are just around the corner.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Deneff exploits rock idioms, such as rapidly repeated chords, ostinato bass lines and syncopated rhythms, but with little variation of content.’
      • ‘He has nothing to do with the choppy rhythms of the Rococo, nor its obvious confession of make-believe.’
      • ‘Nils Petter Molvaer, an electric jazz player is a virtuoso trumpet player who endows his music with exotic elements and broken rhythms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every kind of move has a specific musical rhythm.’
      • ‘The whole piece is structured around rhythm, rhythm produced by various musical instruments used in different parts of India.’
      • ‘I had wondered what sound worlds, tonal colours and rhythms Hiorthøy might proffer.’
      • ‘Careful listening enhances children's learning of a song, rhythm or complete musical piece.’
    3. 1.3A person's natural feeling for rhythm.
      ‘they've got no rhythm’
      • ‘The band's natural rhythm and fast tempo is likely also at the heart of its loyal following.’
      • ‘He had natural rhythm and he'd drum on pots and pans.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her sense of rhythm is perfect, which shows in both her singing and her dancing.’
      • ‘His talent is amazing, his superb phrasing and sense of rhythm as flawless as a perfectly cut diamond.’
      • ‘People with no sense of rhythm try to clap along to the music.’
      • ‘This may include practicing for a predetermined amount of time per day or utilizing the metronome to improve rhythm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She balances ear training, exercises for rhythm, technique and music theory with repertoire at the sight-reading level.’
      • ‘They're all played with a fantastically organic sense of rhythm and the 1st violins shine throughout.’
      • ‘Shay offers something to the effect that he was amazed that white boys should have such incredible natural rhythm.’
      • ‘While a natural sense of rhythm helps, most folks can learn the steps and become familiar through practice, he says.’
      • ‘As for activity on the dance floor, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa proved that not all Brazilians have a natural sense of 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.’
      • ‘Both women have great natural rhythm, something that cannot be said for the entire troupe.’
      • ‘The performance here is a testimony to Brain's knowledge and appreciation of Beethoven and also to his keen sense of balance and rhythm.’
      • ‘For me, the key to finding my natural rhythm is familiarity.’
      • ‘The Ethel string quartet have got rhythm - the kind that puts music back on its feet’
      • ‘However, what they all had in common was great musical rhythm, enthusiasm, and ability.’
      pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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    4. 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.
      • ‘So the short rhythm just works better for you than a longer narrative.’
      • ‘Sheff injects poetry into his words through repetition and rhythm, sometimes as interdependent traits.’
      • ‘Since lyrics consist of three things, words, melody and rhythm, each one is considered separately.’
      • ‘His attempt to define effective prose rhythm technically is one of the most curious and interesting parts of his preface.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And the poetic rhythm and verse of the script gently takes the audience along for the ride.’
      • ‘Such features are very prominent in nursery rhymes and ballads, where frequently pleasure lies in rhythm, incantation, and strangeness of image.’
      • ‘It is through an unexpected blending of rhythm and syntax that his prose yields the remarkable or compelling image.’
      • ‘His speciality is ‘chatting’ - rhythm and rhyme in words spoken very fast over the top of garage or drum ‘n’ bass music.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He experimented constantly with rhythms and stresses and verse forms, disliking and avoiding any facile flow.’
      • ‘Lost in the rhythm of the verse, you are hardly conscious that it was first expressed in Spanish.’
      • ‘Writers may choose to repeat words or phrases for emphasis or rhythm.’
      • ‘Traditional poetry, with its innate rhythm and alliteration, as well as free verse focusing on social issues, flowed from her pen.’
      • ‘Part of the beauty of Cold Roses lies in the effortless free-flowing rhythm of the words coupled with bittersweet lyrics.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He wanted the words to sound beautiful, and sometimes meaning is actually less important than the sound and rhythm of the words.’
      • ‘The verse rhythm should have its effect upon the hearers without their being conscious of it.’
      metre, measure, pattern, stress, accent, pulse, time, flow, cadence
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    5. 1.5A regularly recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes.
      ‘the twice daily rhythms of the tides’
      • ‘The sound of your environment is essential to your overall well-being since it impacts the frequency of your body, your own natural rhythm.’
      • ‘Sometimes they explicitly enforce it, sometimes it just sorts itself out in the natural rhythm of being two people with two lives.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The existence of daily rhythms in the regulation of many body processes has been well documented in the last 50 years.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The notion that cities are removed from the natural rhythm of the seasons is pervasive.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cycle goes up and down, part of that natural rhythm.’
      • ‘Starting on Sunday in Las Vegas, the Nextel Cup season will finally glide into its natural rhythm.’
      • ‘The strongest hand of The Cincinnati Kid is that it captures the highs and lows and natural rhythm of a marathon poker game.’
      • ‘For over three centuries we have been attempting to separate our selves from the organic processes and rhythms of the natural world.’
      • ‘Nothing beats the natural rhythm of tropical island life and kayaking is the way to experience it, writes Catherine Lawson.’
      • ‘Such internal clocks are known as circadian clocks, which are tuned to biological rhythms that recur on a daily basis.’
      • ‘Feeding them disrupts their natural rhythm: they get hooked on people-food and forget about the food they've buried.’
      • ‘Hypocotyl extension in rapid shade avoidance therefore coincides with the seedling's natural endogenous rhythm of elongation growth.’
      • ‘When things began to flow out of rhythm, you knew something had gone wrong.’
      • ‘When we interrupt the natural rhythm of day and night for any reason - even reveling - we risk setting off a cascade of problems.’
      • ‘The body's natural rhythm of waking and sleeping is about 25 hours.’
      pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
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    6. 1.6Art A harmonious sequence or correlation of colors or elements.
      • ‘Their easy, rolling rhythms and rich colouring influenced many other Canadian landscape painters.’
      • ‘Bare surfaces and a grille of tiny windows, tinged with rhythms of burning colour by Marguerite Huré, intensify the claustrophobia.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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