noun Physiology.

a pulsation of the heart, including one complete systole and diastole.

Origin of heartbeat

First recorded in 1840–50; heart + beat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for heartbeat

pulse, throb, force, tick, pulsation, time, im

Examples from the Web for heartbeat

Contemporary Examples of heartbeat

Historical Examples of heartbeat

  • He listened to Murgatroyd's heartbeat with it while Murgatroyd dozed.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Then, at last, he detected a heartbeat, very feeble and slow yet unmistakable.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • For a heartbeat, he started to relax the pressure on the throat.

    The Best Made Plans

    Everett B. Cole

  • DeVore looked at his superior expressionless for a heartbeat.

    Final Weapon

    Everett B. Cole

  • For a heartbeat, Stan regarded the fellow consideringly, then he shook his head.

    Alarm Clock

    Everett B. Cole

British Dictionary definitions for heartbeat



one complete pulsation of the heartSee diastole, systole
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

Word Origin and History for heartbeat

1850, from heart + beat (n.). From the beginning used as a figure for "a very brief time."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

heartbeat in Medicine




A single complete pulsation of the heart.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.