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.

Nearby words

  1. throated,
  2. throatlash,
  3. throatlatch,
  4. throatwash,
  5. throaty,
  6. throckmorton,
  7. throe,
  8. throes,
  9. thrombase,
  10. thrombasthenia

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 throbbing

British Dictionary definitions for throbbing


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 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

Medicine definitions for throbbing




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.