- movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat, accent, or the like.
- the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the occurrence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats.
- a particular form of this: duple rhythm; triple rhythm.
- measured movement, as in dancing.
- Art, Literature. a patterned repetition of a motif, formal element, etc., at regular or irregular intervals in the same or a modified form.
- the effect produced in a play, film, novel, etc., by the combination or arrangement of formal elements, as length of scenes, speech and description, timing, or recurrent themes, to create movement, tension, and emotional value in the development of the plot.
- metrical or rhythmical form; meter; cadence.
- a particular kind of metrical form.
- metrical movement.
- the pattern of recurrent strong and weak accents, vocalization and silence, and the distribution and combination of these elements in speech.
- Physiology. the regular recurrence of an action or function, as of the beat of the heart, or the menstrual cycle.
- procedure marked by the regular recurrence of particular elements, phases, etc.: the rhythm of the seasons.
- regular recurrence of elements in a system of motion.
Origin of rhythm
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for rhythm
Sometimes a column has the economy and rhythm of a short story.The Best Columns of 2014
John Avlon, Errol Louis
December 31, 2014
Royal Christmases have a rhythm and routine—but this year Will, Kate, and baby George have their own, more relaxed plans.Prince George’s Christmas: Better Than Yours
December 24, 2014
A car parked at a red light honked its horn in rhythm with the chant as the crowd passed in front of it.‘They Let Him Off?’ Scenes from NYC in Disbelief
December 4, 2014
Most rhythm sections play pretty straight, but we were pushing him, the way we were with Miles.
I never got a definitive answer, but I think he was used to having a rhythm section that would not be that dynamic under him.
Johnnie watched her walking away, for the rhythm of her motion attracted him.Tiverton Tales
She was a little surprised at this noise of bravos in rhythm.My Double Life
A poor, sad puppet dancing to a tune I know not the rhythm of.The Golden Fountain
His voice rose; he was falling into the rhythm of a scene with Jacky.Howards End
E. M. Forster
Music too is concerned with the principles of love in their application to harmony and rhythm.Symposium
- the arrangement of the relative durations of and accents on the notes of a melody, usually laid out into regular groups (bars) of beats, the first beat of each bar carrying the stress
- any specific arrangement of such groupings; timequadruple rhythm
- (in poetry)
- the arrangement of words into a more or less regular sequence of stressed and unstressed or long and short syllables
- any specific such arrangement; metre
- (in painting, sculpture, architecture, etc) a harmonious sequence or pattern of masses alternating with voids, of light alternating with shade, of alternating colours, etc
- any sequence of regularly recurring functions or events, such as the regular recurrence of certain physiological functions of the body, as the cardiac rhythm of the heartbeat
Word Origin and History for rhythm
1550s, "rhymed verse, metrical movement," from Latin rhythmus "movement in time," from Greek rhythmos "measured flow or movement, rhythm; proportion, symmetry; arrangement, order; form, shape, wise, manner; soul, disposition," related to rhein "to flow," from PIE root *sreu- "to flow" (see rheum). Rhythm method of birth control attested from 1936. Rhythm and blues, U.S. music style, is from 1949 (first in "Billboard").
- Movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions, as in the heartbeat.