verb (used without object), pul·sat·ed, pul·sat·ing.

to expand and contract rhythmically, as the heart; beat; throb.
to vibrate; quiver.

Origin of pulsate

1785–95; < Latin pulsātus, past participle of pulsāre to batter, strike, make (strings) vibrate. See pulse1, -ate1
Related formsnon·pul·sat·ing, adjectiveun·pul·sat·ing, adjective

Synonyms for pulsate

1. pulse.

Synonym study

1. Pulsate, beat, palpitate, throb refer to the recurrent vibratory movement of the heart, the pulse, etc. To pulsate is to move in a definite rhythm, temporarily or for a longer duration: Blood pulsates in the arteries. To beat is to repeat a vibration or pulsation regularly for some time: One's heart beats many times a minute. To palpitate is to beat at a rapid rate, often producing a flutter: to palpitate with excitement. To throb is to beat with an unusual force that is often associated with pain or heightened emotion or sensation: to throb with terror.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for pulsate


verb (intr)

to expand and contract with a rhythmic beat; throb
physics to vary in intensity, magnitude, size, etcthe current was pulsating
to quiver or vibrate
Derived Formspulsative (ˈpʌlsətɪv), adjectivepulsatively, adverb

Word Origin for pulsate

C18: from Latin pulsāre to push
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 pulsate

1741, back-formation from pulsation, from Latin pulsatus, past participle of pulsare "to beat against, strike upon" (see pulsation). Related: Pulsated; pulsating; pulsatile.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pulsate in Medicine




To expand and contract rhythmically; beat.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.