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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
  • Doctors can see the heart pumping, or blood working through the brain after a heartbeat.
  • It can even see your heartbeat racing while you crouch behind the door.
  • It doesn't disrupt your heartbeat, but it is incredibly muscular.
  • The interfaces of our souls are designed to be read in a heartbeat.
  • Steady, controlled, in harmony with your heartbeat and the rhythms of your other organs.
  • Being touched or hearing a heartbeat is familiar because they heard it in the womb.
  • Patients with some of the severest symptoms suffer from low blood pressure and have difficulty regulating their heartbeat.
  • The probe records how the volume of blood in the arteries changes with each subsequent heartbeat.
  • It is used to treat some forms of irregular heartbeat, such as atrial fibrillation.
  • All living things depend on the heartbeat of seasonal change.
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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