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See more synonyms for palpitate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), pal·pi·tat·ed, pal·pi·tat·ing.
  1. to pulsate with unusual rapidity from exertion, emotion, disease, etc.; flutter: His heart palpitated wildly.
  2. to pulsate; quiver; throb; tremble.
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verb (used with object), pal·pi·tat·ed, pal·pi·tat·ing.
  1. to cause to pulsate or tremble.
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Origin of palpitate

1615–25; < Latin palpitātus, past participle of palpitāre to pulsate, frequentative of palpāre to stroke. See palpus, -ate1
Related formspal·pi·tat·ing·ly, adverbun·pal·pi·tat·ing, adjective

Synonym study

1. See pulsate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for palpitate

pound, quiver, throb, pulsate, pulse, shiver, vibrate, tremble, flutter, pitter-patter

Examples from the Web for palpitate

Historical Examples of palpitate

  • Nor was his the only heart whom that cheery sound caused to palpitate.

    A Dog with a Bad Name

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • He had no right to palpitate over the picture of an unknown beauty.

  • The air seemed to palpitate with these new and agitating feelings.

  • My heart began to palpitate with dread of some unknown danger.

    Wieland; or The Transformation

    Charles Brockden Brown

  • It seems to palpitate with a fragrance that ravishes the senses.


    Ella Higginson

British Dictionary definitions for palpitate


verb (intr)
  1. (of the heart) to beat with abnormal rapidity
  2. to flutter or tremble
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Derived Formspalpitant, adjectivepalpitation, noun

Word Origin for palpitate

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

Word Origin and History for palpitate


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper