Definition of palpitate in US English:



[no object]often as adjective palpitating
  • 1(of the heart) beat rapidly, strongly, or irregularly.

    ‘it wakened him in the night with a palpitating heart’
    • ‘Where I live, there are lots of folks palpitating at 325 beats a minute.’
    • ‘She could almost hear his own heart palpitating wildly in his chest, and without knowing it, she put her hand over his heart to feel it.’
    • ‘My heart would palpitate and sweat glands shift into overdrive.’
    • ‘She sat bolt upright in bed, her heart palpitating quickly and her breathing in a frantic state.’
    • ‘My heart sometimes palpitates when I am startled or sometimes when I bend forward.’
    • ‘It seemed to take an eternity to reach the landing, and her heart palpitated with self-consciousness.’
    • ‘She could feel her heart palpitating as she remained seated there.’
    • ‘While other organs might fill with blood, the heart palpitates, contracts, squeezes and pumps fluids.’
    • ‘Her heart was still palpitating like that of a bird.’
    • ‘Then, she left the car and entered the hotel, her heart palpitating.’
    • ‘Once upon a time in Carlow the prospect of this particular Limerick team coming up for a qualifier would have sent knees buckling and hearts palpitating.’
    • ‘THERE I was, heart palpitating after Laois minors' injury time equaliser against Westmeath in Croke Park last Sunday, but still there was work to be done.’
    • ‘I slipped out of the school gates, my heart palpitating rapidly yet I could hear every individual beat of my heart, echoing in my head.’
    • ‘Hearts palpitating, ears magnifying the smallest sound, they stealthily waded across the river.’
    • ‘My heart palpitated and the air stopped in my lungs.’
    • ‘His heart was palpitating more than usual, but it wasn't due to his fear.’
    • ‘Apparently, we are more tolerant - our blood pressures don't go up, our hearts don't palpitate and our kids can't be traumatized.’
    • ‘One's heart palpitated for the duo whilst feeling their pain when their bodies - hands, feet and all - pressed against one another in uncomfortable maneuverings.’
    • ‘Her mind was racing with guilt, her heart was palpitating with expectation and desire for this stranger called Marcus.’
    • ‘His heart palpitated as he inwardly started to panic.’
    beat rapidly, pound, throb, pulsate, pulse, thud, thump, hammer, flutter, pitter-patter, go pit-a-pat, quiver, pump, race, pant, thrill
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    1. 1.1 Shake; tremble.
      ‘she was palpitating with terror’
      • ‘Anyone wondering why people palpitate over the exploitation genre will have a hard time finding such excitement incentives here.’
      • ‘Viro squeezed harder, his massive fingers digging into the man's throat; his windpipe broke and his head palpitated, turning reddish, then purple.’
      • ‘As grandmas go into palpitating convulsions of disbelief, and all of contemporary society looks down at me from their pedestals of purity, let me just state that I'm not average.’
      • ‘She palpitates visibly, and retires to the photocopier.’
      • ‘So, everyone from palpitating fans to scribes will have to wait till the designated launch day to actually get to see the book, which is said to have an orange cover.’
      • ‘And why had so many teenage girls screamed and palpitated at the very thought of The Rolling Stones throughout the ‘sixties?’
      • ‘They positively palpitate at dramatic accounts of unbelievers crying out for sacraments, or trembling with terror as the demons drag them into the inferno.’
      • ‘An impressionable, palpitating creature was Ella, shrinking humanely from detailed knowledge of her husband's trade whenever she reflected that everything he manufactured had for its purpose the destruction of life.’
      tremble, quiver, quake, shake, shake like a leaf, shiver, shudder
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Early 17th century: from Latin palpitat- ‘patted’, from the verb palpitare, frequentative of palpare ‘touch gently’.