heart·​beat | \ ˈhärt-ˌbēt \

Definition of heartbeat 

1 : one complete pulsation of the heart
2 : the vital center or driving impulse
3 : a brief space of time : flash used chiefly in the phrase in a heartbeat

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Examples of heartbeat in a Sentence

The patient had a rapid heartbeat. I'd accept a job offer from that company in a heartbeat.

Recent Examples on the Web

Apple pushed out watchOS 5.1.2 today, which includes its ECG app for monitoring irregular heartbeats. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Apple’s anticipated ECG app rolls out today in watchOS 5.1.2," 6 Dec. 2018 Between the strobe-like flashing billboards, the frisky Elmos, and the overly aggressive Nuts4Nuts hawkers, New York’s buzzing heartbeat has become a parody of itself, all chaos and no cool. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Two Very Big Reasons You Should Do Your Holiday Shopping in Midtown Manhattan," 20 Nov. 2018 Another possibility was a hyperthyroid condition, but that usually causes a fast heartbeat. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018 The new Apple Watch Series 4 lineup has larger displays and rounder corners, and is the first to include an ECG test for more sophisticated heartbeat measurement — even approved by the U.S. FDA. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Apple’s new iPhones, Uber’s new logo, Juul’s new problem," 13 Sep. 2018 And the sound of waves lapping ashore — oh, what a comforting sound, this thumping, watery heartbeat. Ana Veciana-suarez, miamiherald, "My happiest memories are one with the sea," 28 June 2018 Teams need a unifying structure, and the best way to create one collective heartbeat is to establish rules for your team to live by. Katie Reilly, Time, "'Make Failure Your Fuel.' Read Soccer Star Abby Wambach's Barnard Commencement Address," 19 May 2018 Patients would trickle in, have a nurse listen to their babies’ heartbeat, grab some snacks (a must at 8 months pregnant) and sit down in the chairs. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Sit in a circle. Talk to other pregnant women. Save your baby’s life?," 2 Nov. 2018 Play music, preferably without lyrics, that is slower than your heartbeat—about 72 beats per minute—or listen to a book on tape, though no thrillers. Colleen Leahey Mckeegan, Marie Claire, "How to Stay Sane While Struggling to Get Pregnant," 1 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heartbeat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of heartbeat

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for heartbeat

Last Updated

29 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for heartbeat

The first known use of heartbeat was in 1850

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More Definitions for heartbeat



English Language Learners Definition of heartbeat

: the action or sound of the heart as it pumps blood


heart·​beat | \ ˈhärt-ˌbēt \

Kids Definition of heartbeat

: a single contracting and expanding of the heart


heart·​beat | \ ˈhärt-ˌbēt \

Medical Definition of heartbeat 

: one complete pulsation of the heart

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More from Merriam-Webster on heartbeat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heartbeat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heartbeat

Spanish Central: Translation of heartbeat

Nglish: Translation of heartbeat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heartbeat

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