See more synonyms for throb on
verb (used without object), throbbed, throb·bing.
  1. to beat with increased force or rapidity, as the heart under the influence of emotion or excitement; palpitate.
  2. to feel or exhibit emotion: He throbbed at the happy thought.
  3. to pulsate; vibrate: The cello throbbed.
  1. the act of throbbing.
  2. a violent beat or pulsation, as of the heart.
  3. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for throbbing

Contemporary Examples of throbbing

Historical Examples of throbbing

  • I laughed out of sheer inanity; every pulse in my body was throbbing.

  • His heart no longer thumped—it was throbbing in a tired, listless fashion.

  • Tip's heart was throbbing with pleasure as he walked on home after Ellis had left him.

  • Throbbing with a grateful, craving allegiance, I seized the rein.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Muffled, slow, grand and mournful, it went wailing and throbbing by.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

British Dictionary definitions for throbbing


verb throbs, throbbing or throbbed (intr)
  1. to pulsate or beat repeatedly, esp with increased forceto throb with pain
  2. (of engines, drums, etc) to have a strong rhythmic vibration or beat
  1. 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 throbbing



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

throbbing in Medicine


  1. To beat rapidly or perceptibly, such as occurs in the heart or a constricted blood vessel.
  1. 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.