verb (used without object), pal·pi·tat·ed, pal·pi·tat·ing.

to pulsate with unusual rapidity from exertion, emotion, disease, etc.; flutter: His heart palpitated wildly.
to pulsate; quiver; throb; tremble.

verb (used with object), pal·pi·tat·ed, pal·pi·tat·ing.

to cause to pulsate or tremble.

Nearby words

  1. palpebral fissure,
  2. palpebrate,
  3. palpebronasal fold,
  4. palpi,
  5. palpitant,
  6. palpitation,
  7. palpus,
  8. palsa,
  9. palsgrave,
  10. palsgravine

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for palpitate

British Dictionary definitions for palpitate


verb (intr)

(of the heart) to beat with abnormal rapidity
to flutter or tremble
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper