American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions: the rhythm of the tides.
- n. The patterned, recurring alternations of contrasting elements of sound or speech.
- n. Music The pattern of musical movement through time.
- n. Music A specific kind of such a pattern, formed by a series of notes differing in duration and stress: a waltz rhythm.
- n. Music A group of instruments supplying the rhythm in a band.
- n. The pattern or flow of sound created by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables in accentual verse or of long and short syllables in quantitative verse.
- n. The similar but less formal sequence of sounds in prose.
- n. A specific kind of metrical pattern or flow: iambic rhythm.
- n. The sense of temporal development created in a work of literature or a film by the arrangement of formal elements such as the length of scenes, the nature and amount of dialogue, or the repetition of motifs.
- n. A regular or harmonious pattern created by lines, forms, and colors in painting, sculpture, and other visual arts.
- n. The pattern of development produced in a literary or dramatic work by repetition of elements such as words, phrases, incidents, themes, images, and symbols.
- n. Procedure or routine characterized by regularly recurring elements, activities, or factors: the rhythm of civilization; the rhythm of the lengthy negotiations.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Movement in time, characterized by equality of measures and by alternation of tension (stress) and relaxation. The word rhythm (
ῤυθμός) means ‘flow,’ and, by development from this sense, ‘uniform movement, perceptible as such, and accordingly divisible into measures, the measures marked by the recurrence of stress.’ Examples of rhythm, in its stricter sense, in nature are respiration and the beating of the pulse, also the effect produced on the ear by the steady dripping of water. The three arts regulated by rhythm are music, metrics, and, according to the ancients, orchestic, or the art of rhythmical bodily movement. Rhythm in language is meter. The term was further extended to sculpture, etc. (compare def. 5), as when a writer speaks of “the rhythm of Myron's Discobolus.”
- n. In music: That characteristic of all composition which depends on the regular succession of relatively heavy and light accents, beats, or pulses; accentual structure in the abstract. Strictly speaking, the organic partition of a piece into equal measures, and also the distribution of long and short tones within measures, in addition to the formation of larger divisions, like phrases, sections, etc., are matters of meter, because they have to do primarily with time-values; while everything that concerns accent and accentual groups is more fitly arranged under rhythm. But this distinction is often ignored or denied, meter and rhythm being used either indiscriminately, or even in exactly the reverse sense to the above. (See
meter.) In any case, in musical analysis, rhythm and meter are coördinate with melody and harmony in the abstract sense.
- n. A particular accentual pattern typical of all the measures of a given piece or movement. Such patterns or rhythms are made up of accents, beats, or pulses of equal duration, but of different dynamic importance. A rhythm of two beats to the measure is often called a two-part rhythm; one of three beats, a three-part rhythm, etc. Almost all rhythms may be reduced to two principal kinds: duple or two-part, consisting of a heavy accent or beat and a light one (often called
march rhythmor common time); and triple or three-part, consisting of a heavy accent or beat and two light ones (waltz rhythm). The accent or beat with which a rhythm begins is called the primary accent. Its place is marked in written music by a bar, and in conducting by a down-beat. Each part of a rhythm may be made compound by subdivision into two or three secondary parts, which form duple or triple groups within themselves. Thus, if each part of a duple rhythm is replaced by duple secondary groups, a four-part or quadruple rhythm is produced, or if by triple secondary groups, a six-part or sextuple rhythm (first variety). By a similar process of replacement, from a triple rhythm may be derived a six-part or sextuple rhythm (second variety) and a nine-part or nonuple rhythm; and from a quadruple rhythm, an eight-part or octuple rhythm and a twelve-part or dodecuple rhythm. The constituent groups of compound rhythms always retain the relative importance of the simple part from which they are derived. The above eight rhythms are all that are ordinarily used, though quintuple, septuple, decuple, and other rhythms occasionally appear, usually in isolated groups of tones. (See quintuplet, septuplet, decimole, etc.) In ancient music a measure did not necessarily begin with a beat, and the rhythms were the same as those indicated in metrics below (3 ). While all music is constructed on these patterns, the pattern is not always shown in the tones or chords as sounded. The time-value of one or more parts may be supplied by a silence or rest. A single tone or chord may be made to include two or more parts, especially in compound rhythms; and thus every possible combination of long and short tones occurs within each rhythm. When a weak accent is thus made to coalesce with a following heavier one, especially if the latter is a primary accent, the rhythm is syncopated. (See syncopation.) The regularity of a rhythm is maintained by counting or beating time—that is, marking each part by a word or motion, with a suitable difference of emphasis between the heavy and the light accents. In written music the rhythm of a piece or movement is indicated at the outset by the rhythmical signature (which see, under rhythmical). The speed of a rhythm in a given case—that is, the time-value assigned to each measure and part—is called its tempo (which see). Rhythm and tempo are wholly independent in the abstract, but the tempo of a given piece is approximately fixed. Although regularity and definiteness of rhythm are characteristic of all music, various influences tend to modify and obliterate its form. The metrical patterns of successive measures often differ widely from the typical rhythmic pattern and from each other. Except in very rudimentary music, purely rhythmic accents are constantly superseded by accents belonging to figures and phrases—that is, to units of higher degree than measures. Indeed, in advancing from rudimentary to highly artistic music, rhythmic patterns become less and less apparent, though furnishing everywhere a firm and continuous accentual groundwork. Rhythm is often loosely called time. Also called proportion.
- n. In metrics: Succession of times divisible into measures with theses and arses; metrical movement. Theoretically, all spoken language possesses rhythm, but the name is distinctively given to that which is not too complicated to be easily perceived as such. Rhythm, so limited, is indispensable in metrical composition, but is regarded as inappropriate in prose, except in elevated style and in oratory, and even in these only in the way of vague suggestion, unless in certain passages of special character.
- n. A particular kind or variety of metrical movement, expressed by a succession of a particular kind or variety of feet: as, iambic rhythm; dactylic rhythm. In ancient metrics, rhythm is isorrhythmic, direct, or dochmiac (see the phrases below), or belongs to a subdivision of these.
- n. A measure or foot.
- n. Verse, as opposed to prose. See rime.
- n. In physics and physiology, succession of alternate and opposite or correlative states.
- n. In the graphic and plastic arts, a proper relation and interdependence of parts with reference to each other and to an artistic whole.
- n. Synonyms Melody, Harmony, etc. See euphony.
- n. A rhythm produced by alternations of clang-tint—in the simplest case, by compound tones alike in duration, pitch, and energy, but different in tint (as proceeding from different instruments, or sung by different voices).
- n. In music: Same as duple rhythm.
- n. A rhythm with only two or three beats to the measure: opposed to compound rhythm or time. See compound measure.
- n. The variation of strong and weak elements (such as duration, accent) of sounds, notably in speech or music, over time; a beat or meter.
- n. A specifically defined pattern of such variation.
- n. A flow, repetition or regularity.
- n. The tempo or speed of a beat, song or repetitive event.
- n. The musical instruments which provide rhythm (mainly; not or less melody) in a musical ensemble.
- n. A regular quantitative change in a variable (notably natural) process.
- n. Controlled repetition of a phrase, incident or other element as a stylistic figure in literature and other narrative arts; the effect it creates.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. In the widest sense, a dividing into short portions by a regular succession of motions, impulses, sounds, accents, etc., producing an agreeable effect, as in music poetry, the dance, or the like.
- n. (Mus.) Movement in musical time, with periodical recurrence of accent; the measured beat or pulse which marks the character and expression of the music; symmetry of movement and accent.
- n. A division of lines into short portions by a regular succession of
arsesand theses, or percussions and remissions of voice on words or syllables.
- n. The harmonious flow of vocal sounds.
- n. natural family planning in which ovulation is assumed to occur 14 days before the onset of a period (the fertile period would be assumed to extend from day 10 through day 18 of her cycle)
- n. recurring at regular intervals
- n. the arrangement of spoken words alternating stressed and unstressed elements
- n. an interval during which a recurring sequence of events occurs
- n. the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music
- First coined 1557, from Latin rhythmus, from Ancient Greek ῥυθμός (rhythmos, "any measured flow or movement, symmetry, rhythm"), from ῥέω (rhèō, "I flow, run, stream, gush"). (Wiktionary)
- Latin rhythmus, from Greek rhuthmos; see sreu- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Phoenix's offense was in rhythm from the start as the Suns jumped out to a 27-22 lead after the first quarter.”
“And when its co-founder, Herb Abramson, was called up by the Army in 1953, Ertegun drafted Jerry Wexler, who'd coined the term "rhythm and blues" in the first place, to replace him as a partner.”
“Clapping to keep the rhythm is also beneficial in this exercise.”
“` ` And come playoff time, you're in prime time, so you're going to have a little more focus, a little more energy, and your rhythm is there.”
“An insult's got a certain rhythm and flow to it that you haven't quite picked up yet.”
“I was feeling fine, didn't have any pain, any stiffness, so when that happens, you've really got to stretch it out as much as you can and try to get in rhythm as much as you can, and that's what I'm trying to do, Bryant said.”
“Everyone's yelling the words at top volume, jumping and bouncing in rhythm, clapping.”
“Buck Privates (1941) Abbott and Costello are a lesson in rhythm every time they open their mouths.”
“You can find out what your natural rhythm is by using timed writings, which are 5-20 minute periods of writing as fast as you can on a given subject.”
“I got off to a good rhythm from the start, and just carried it on.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘rhythm’.
A collection of words found in English that are either purely Greek or have Greek etymology.
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Typical words from Beatles song titles. Can you recreate the titles?
(Grammatical words have been omitted)
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Words overused in modern pop music.
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They told you they're five.
April is National Poetry Month. Add your favorite poetry terms to this new list!
Words used in the visual design field
words relating to rhythm
Words that, if you stare at them long enough, they cease to look like real words.
Looking for tweets for rhythm.