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[hahrt-beet] /ˈhɑrtˌbit/
noun, Physiology.
a pulsation of the heart, including one complete systole and diastole.
Origin of heartbeat
1840-50; heart + beat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for heartbeat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And now suddenly her heartbeat began to quicken again until its thumping became tumultuous.

    The White Moll Frank L. Packard
  • Then, at last, he detected a heartbeat, very feeble and slow yet unmistakable.

    Out of the Depths Robert Ames Bennet
  • Both the heartbeat and the breathing in the young child are much more rapid than in the grown person.

    Physiology Ernest G. Martin
  • DeVore looked at his superior expressionless for a heartbeat.

    Final Weapon Everett B. Cole
  • By this time the heartbeat could be detected every moment growing stronger.

    The Doctor Ralph Connor
British Dictionary definitions for heartbeat


one complete pulsation of the heart See diastole, systole
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
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Word Origin and History for heartbeat

1850, from heart + beat (n.). From the beginning used as a figure for "a very brief time."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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heartbeat in Medicine

heartbeat heart·beat (härt'bēt')
A single complete pulsation of the heart.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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heartbeat in Technology

1. The signal emitted by a Level 2 Ethernet transceiver at the end of every packet to show that the collision-detection circuit is still connected.
2. A periodic synchronisation signal used by software or hardware, such as a bus clock or a periodic interrupt.
3. The "natural" oscillation frequency of a computer's clock crystal, before frequency division down to the machine's clock rate.
4. A signal emitted at regular intervals by software to demonstrate that it is still alive. Sometimes hardware is designed to reboot the machine if it stops hearing a heartbeat. See also breath-of-life packet, watchdog.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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