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[pal-pi-teyt] /ˈpæl pɪˌteɪt/
verb (used without object), palpitated, palpitating.
to pulsate with unusual rapidity from exertion, emotion, disease, etc.; flutter:
His heart palpitated wildly.
to pulsate; quiver; throb; tremble.
verb (used with object), palpitated, palpitating.
to cause to pulsate or tremble.
Origin of palpitate
1615-25; < Latin palpitātus, past participle of palpitāre to pulsate, frequentative of palpāre to stroke. See palpus, -ate1
Related forms
palpitatingly, adverb
unpalpitating, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See pulsate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for palpitating
Historical Examples
  • They were sorry for the little white-faced, palpitating thing.

  • When he was finally in the coat, she was rather flushed and palpitating.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • They stood before him palpitating like birds, poised, tense for flight.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • Then Pierre, having quieted his palpitating heart, drew near.

  • I stood by with a palpitating heart as he turned the lock and opened the door.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • A superb bit of fiction, palpitating with the life of the great metropolis.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • Every nerve in Roma's body was palpitating, but she did not attempt to speak.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • Then the iron cooled, and was lifted back into the palpitating blaze.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Dubberley sat completely demoralised, palpitating like a stranded frog.

    The Right Stuff Ian Hay
  • It cut to the heart's palpitating centre like a poniard thrust.

British Dictionary definitions for palpitating


verb (intransitive)
(of the heart) to beat with abnormal rapidity
to flutter or tremble
Derived Forms
palpitant, adjective
palpitation, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin palpitāre to throb, from palpāre to stroke
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for palpitating



1620s, from Latin palpitatus, past participle of palpitare "to throb, flutter" (see palpitation). Related: Palpitated; palpitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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