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See more synonyms for heartbeat on Thesaurus.com
noun Physiology.
  1. a pulsation of the heart, including one complete systole and diastole.
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Origin of heartbeat

First recorded in 1840–50; heart + beat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

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

Examples from the Web for heartbeat

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. one complete pulsation of the heartSee diastole, systole
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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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

heartbeat in Medicine


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