heart·​beat | \ ˈhärt-ˌbēt How to pronounce heartbeat (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Only one presidential term later, Kamala Harris is set to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, smashing the final glass ceiling in national politics. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Makes History—People on Twitter are Reacting Accordingly," 7 Nov. 2020 Come 2021, if Kamala Harris is one heartbeat away from the presidency, she will be prepared for the proximity. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Why Women Can’t Want," 7 Oct. 2020 So there’s no heartbeat without the blood flowing to it. Britt Julious, chicagotribune.com, "MacArthur Genius recipient also has a musical side, heard on ‘This Love Thing’," 5 Nov. 2020 On the other hand, sudden cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical malfunction in the heart that leads to an irregular heartbeat (known as arrhythmia). Claire Gillespie, Health.com, "Matthew McConaughey's Dad Died of a Heart Attack While Having Sex—How Does This Happen?," 19 Oct. 2020 This sound machine features three natural sounds: heartbeat, rain, and ocean. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Sound machines to help your baby sleep," 9 Oct. 2020 It’s about every small business that creates the vibrant heartbeat of the city, including hair and nail salons and massage, tattoo and piercing parlors, which will also finally be allowed to open Monday. Rusty Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "Even as gyms partially reopen, fitness companies face an uphill climb," 12 Sep. 2020 Then, using audio detection equipment, the team found what could be a very slow heartbeat -- about 19 beats a minute. Peter Aitken, Fox News, "Beirut to observe moment of silence as search continues for possible survivor 1 month after blast," 4 Sep. 2020 Narratives can change in a heartbeat – such as the Arizona Diamondbacks enhancing their playoff chances by 25% with five wins in six games – but bad vibes and bad luck also play outsize roles in such a sprint. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "As MLB's season hits the middle third, assessing the shoo-ins, suspects and see-you-next-years," 18 Aug. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of heartbeat

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about heartbeat

Time Traveler for heartbeat

Time Traveler

The first known use of heartbeat was in 1850

See more words from the same year

Statistics for heartbeat

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heartbeat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heartbeat. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for heartbeat


How to pronounce heartbeat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heartbeat

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


heart·​beat | \ ˈhärt-ˌbēt How to pronounce heartbeat (audio) \

Kids Definition of heartbeat

: a single contracting and expanding of the heart


heart·​beat | \ ˈhärt-ˌbēt How to pronounce heartbeat (audio) \

Medical Definition of heartbeat

: one complete pulsation of the heart

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on heartbeat

What made you want to look up heartbeat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!