from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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. 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 arses and theses, or percussions and remissions of voice on words or syllables.
  • n. The harmonious flow of vocal sounds.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Movement in time, characterized by equality of measures and by alternation of tension (stress) and relaxation.
  • 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.
  • n. A particular accentual pattern typical of all the measures of a given piece or movement.
  • n. In metrics: Succession of times divisible into measures with theses and arses; metrical movement.
  • 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.
  • 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • 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


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin rhythmus, from Greek rhuthmos; see sreu- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").



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  • I'll never be able to see this again without wanting to belch. Thanks skip.

    March 12, 2009

  • /'rɪðəm/

    October 19, 2007

  • It was definitely very early, yes. They had to be litigious once they started a business with it, I guess. I'm glad it's still out there on teh interwebs though.

    October 12, 2007

  • Interesting note on that page, below the article. Seems it was perhaps the first Onion article ever? Even preceding the Onion itself? Interesting. Shame they come across so litigious there though.

    October 12, 2007

  • Here's the whole article.

    October 12, 2007

  • Hilarious! The Onion is great.

    October 12, 2007

  • Anyone remember that headline from "The Onion"? "Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia: Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to Be First Recipients."

    And this excerpt:

    "The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a foreign country since 1984. During the summer of that year, the US shipped 92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaouoaua, Eaoiiuae, and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies of L's, S's and T's."

    October 12, 2007

  • Oh yes, there they are. Hiding their faces from the bankrupt Wheel of Fortune contestants, trying not to feel rejected.

    October 12, 2007

  • They're queueing up by the Ouenouaou, I believe, speaking Uoiauai.

    October 12, 2007

  • I'm trying to find my vowels, have you seen them?

    October 12, 2007