verb (used without object), throbbed, throb·bing.

to beat with increased force or rapidity, as the heart under the influence of emotion or excitement; palpitate.
to feel or exhibit emotion: He throbbed at the happy thought.
to pulsate; vibrate: The cello throbbed.


the act of throbbing.
a violent beat or pulsation, as of the heart.
any pulsation or vibration: the throb of engines.

Origin of throb

1325–75; Middle English *throbben, implied in present participle throbbant throbbing < ?
Related formsthrob·ber, nounthrob·bing·ly, adverbout·throb, verb (used with object), out·throbbed, out·throb·bing.un·throb·bing, adjective

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for throb

Contemporary Examples of throb

Historical Examples of throb

  • There you can see the very veins and the throb of the blood.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The throb of these sounds was as a background to the evening--fierce, passionate, barbaric.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Every throb of his heart, almost every evolution of his brain, found an echo in me.

  • He wished to open his spirit to the feeling and throb of the living world.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill

  • Little by little his pulses quieted, his temples ceased to throb.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

British Dictionary definitions for throb


verb throbs, throbbing or throbbed (intr)

to pulsate or beat repeatedly, esp with increased forceto throb with pain
(of engines, drums, etc) to have a strong rhythmic vibration or beat


the act or an instance of throbbing, esp a rapid pulsation as of the hearta throb of pleasure
Derived Formsthrobbing, adjectivethrobbingly, adverb

Word Origin for throb

C14: perhaps of imitative origin
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 throb

mid-14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps meant to represent in sound the pulsation of arteries and veins or the heart. Related: Throbbed; throbbing. The noun is first attested 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for throb




To beat rapidly or perceptibly, such as occurs in the heart or a constricted blood vessel.


A strong or rapid beat; a pulsation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.