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[puhl-seyt] /ˈpʌl seɪt/
verb (used without object), pulsated, pulsating.
to expand and contract rhythmically, as the heart; beat; throb.
to vibrate; quiver.
Origin of pulsate
1785-95; < Latin pulsātus, past participle of pulsāre to batter, strike, make (strings) vibrate. See pulse1, -ate1
Related forms
nonpulsating, adjective
unpulsating, adjective
1. pulse. Pulsate, beat, palpitate, throb refer to the recurrent vibratory movement of the heart, the pulse, etc. To pulsate is to move in a definite rhythm, temporarily or for a longer duration: Blood pulsates in the arteries. To beat is to repeat a vibration or pulsation regularly for some time: One's heart beats many times a minute. To palpitate is to beat at a rapid rate, often producing a flutter: to palpitate with excitement. To throb is to beat with an unusual force that is often associated with pain or heightened emotion or sensation: to throb with terror. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pulsate
  • They can be nearly motionless, pulsate leisurely, or flicker rapidly with several new scenes every second.
  • Whatever the lack of amenities, streets pulsate with life.
  • With this system, the brake lights go to full brightness and pulsate in the event of a panic stop.
  • While carried by currents, jellyfish continue to swim and pulsate their bells.
  • Parts of the whitish rock-sheet before you pulsate from the pressure of steam and boiling water beneath them.
  • Pneumatic heads pulsate internal air pressure within the bursting tool, while hydraulic heads expand and collapse the head.
  • If the aircraft descends further below the glide path, the red light starts to pulsate.
  • They pulsate rhythmically and function as respiratory organs.
  • Dead tissue is usually harder, color is changed, and arteries no longer pulsate.
British Dictionary definitions for pulsate


verb (intransitive)
to expand and contract with a rhythmic beat; throb
(physics) to vary in intensity, magnitude, size, etc: the current was pulsating
to quiver or vibrate
Derived Forms
pulsative (ˈpʌlsətɪv) adjective
pulsatively, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Latin pulsāre to push
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 pulsate

1741, back-formation from pulsation, from Latin pulsatus, past participle of pulsare "to beat against, strike upon" (see pulsation). Related: Pulsated; pulsating; pulsatile.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pulsate in Medicine

pulsate pul·sate (pŭl'sāt')
v. pul·sat·ed, pul·sat·ing, pul·sates
To expand and contract rhythmically; beat.

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