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[throb] /θrɒb/
verb (used without object), throbbed, throbbing.
to beat with increased force or rapidity, as the heart under the influence of emotion or excitement; palpitate.
to feel or exhibit emotion:
He throbbed at the happy thought.
to pulsate; vibrate:
The cello throbbed.
the act of throbbing.
a violent beat or pulsation, as of the heart.
any pulsation or vibration:
the throb of engines.
Origin of throb
1325-75; Middle English *throbben, implied in present participle throbbant throbbing < ?
Related forms
throbber, noun
throbbingly, adverb
outthrob, verb (used with object), outthrobbed, outthrobbing.
unthrobbing, adjective
3. See pulsate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for throb
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He held on grimly, crushing the life out of the slender writhing form until it ceased to quiver and throb, and hung limp.

    Lives of the Fur Folk M. D. Haviland
  • But later on she was a little ashamed of that throb of transient joy.

    Colorado Jim George Goodchild
  • It is the pulse of the people of England, responding in the faint distance to the throb of victory.

  • Her head began to throb, and she felt as if her body were an ache personified.

    A Princess in Calico Edith Ferguson Black
  • When the distant noise died away all was very quiet but for the throb of falling water.

    Northwest! Harold Bindloss
  • At the same moment I became aware of the throb of an approaching motor.

    The Motor Pirate George Sidney Paternoster
  • Ellen knew at once, with a throb of sympathy and shame, that Abby did love some one.

    The Portion of Labor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • For days after I met you, something seemed to throb in my veins.

  • The soft wind was blowing down river, but it did not bring with it the throb of a steamer's screw which he half expected to hear.

    A Mating in the Wilds Ottwell Binns
British Dictionary definitions for throb


verb (intransitive) throbs, throbbing, throbbed
to pulsate or beat repeatedly, esp with increased force: to throb with pain
(of engines, drums, etc) to have a strong rhythmic vibration or beat
the act or an instance of throbbing, esp a rapid pulsation as of the heart: a throb of pleasure
Derived Forms
throbbing, adjective
throbbingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: perhaps of imitative origin
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 throb

mid-14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps meant to represent in sound the pulsation of arteries and veins or the heart. Related: Throbbed; throbbing. The noun is first attested 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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throb in Medicine

throb (thrŏb)
v. throbbed, throb·bing, throbs
To beat rapidly or perceptibly, such as occurs in the heart or a constricted blood vessel. n.
A strong or rapid beat; a pulsation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for throb


Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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