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[pal-pi-teyt] /ˈpæl pɪˌteɪt/
verb (used without object), palpitated, palpitating.
to pulsate with unusual rapidity from exertion, emotion, disease, etc.; flutter:
His heart palpitated wildly.
to pulsate; quiver; throb; tremble.
verb (used with object), palpitated, palpitating.
to cause to pulsate or tremble.
Origin of palpitate
1615-25; < Latin palpitātus, past participle of palpitāre to pulsate, frequentative of palpāre to stroke. See palpus, -ate1
Related forms
palpitatingly, adverb
unpalpitating, adjective
1. See pulsate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for palpitating
Historical Examples
  • For a moment she peered, palpitating, then flew into Aunt Isabelle's room.

    Contrary Mary Temple Bailey
  • With palpitating heart and trembling limbs, he viewed his position.

    Clotelle William Wells Brown
  • And so, flung himself in a chair glaring defiance, Elizabeth palpitating between the two.

    The Ladies E. Barrington
  • Slowly, with the tips of his fingers, palpitating, he lifted her veil.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • To me it is just embodied babyhood, just a little pink, helpless, palpitating bunch of pitifulness.

  • Mr. Purcey laid his hand on the flank of his palpitating car.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • We levelled our glasses at the distant scene, and scanned it with palpitating hearts.

    A Trip to Venus John Munro
  • Now he touched the gun with palpitating hands, but he did not pick it up.

    The Dead Command Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • It is “firm” enough beyond question, and the sky especially is a marvel of delicate, palpitating colour.

    Corot Sidney Allnutt
  • There were two goddesses, one in marble and one palpitating with life.

British Dictionary definitions for palpitating


verb (intransitive)
(of the heart) to beat with abnormal rapidity
to flutter or tremble
Derived Forms
palpitant, adjective
palpitation, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin palpitāre to throb, from palpāre to stroke
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 palpitating



1620s, from Latin palpitatus, past participle of palpitare "to throb, flutter" (see palpitation). Related: Palpitated; palpitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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