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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 throbbing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The ship swerved tipsily and then the engines ceased their throbbing.

    The Web of the Golden Spider Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • I laughed out of sheer inanity; every pulse in my body was throbbing.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • These questions burned their way to the very depths of his throbbing brain.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • throbbing with a grateful, craving allegiance, I seized the rein.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • It was all the living, throbbing present—with only the golden future to be explored.

    The Foolish Virgin Thomas Dixon
British Dictionary definitions for throbbing


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 throbbing



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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throbbing 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 throbbing


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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