Definition: Rhythm

From New World Encyclopedia


From Latin rhythmus, from Ancient Greek ῥυθμός (rhuthmós, “any measured flow or movement, symmetry, rhythm”), from ῥέω (rhéō, “I flow, run, stream, gush”).


rhythm (countable and uncountable, plural rhythms)

  1. The variation of the duration of sounds over time; a beat or meter.
    Dance to the rhythm of the music.
  2. A specifically defined pattern of such variation.
    Most dances have a rhythm as distinctive as the Iambic verse in poetry
  3. The tempo or speed of a beat, song, or repeated event.
    She walked with a quick, even rhythm.
  4. A flow, repetition or regularity.
    Once you get the rhythm of it, the job will become easy.
  5. The musical instruments which provide rhythm (mainly; more than the melody) in a musical ensemble.
    The core elements of the rhythm section are usually the drums and Bass guitar
  6. A regular quantitative change in a variable (notably natural) process.
    The rhythm of the seasons dominates agriculture as well as wildlife
  7. Controlled repetition of a phrase, incident, or other element as a stylistic figure in literature and other narrative arts; the effect it creates.
    The running gag is a popular rhythm in motion pictures and theater comedy
  8. A person's natural feeling for rhythm.
    He's a terrible dancer, he's got no rhythm!

Derived terms

Related terms

  • rhythmicity
  • rhythmics


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