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

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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

This appears to cause irregularities in heartbeat that are the immediate cause of death. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Heart disease is the price of becoming human, UCSD study finds," 22 July 2019 Too much caffeine can also increase blood pressure, cause anxiety, rapid heartbeat, rebound fatigue, dehydration, and interfere with sleep. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "Can the Coffee Diet Really Help With Weight Loss—and Is It Safe?," 19 July 2019 The heartbeat bills have faced immediate court challenge, so none has gone into effect. AZCentral.com, "Never heard of model bills? Here's how they work.," 20 June 2019 Or how our heart, born from two identical structures fused together, twists itself into an asymmetrical pump that can simultaneously push oxygen-rich blood around the body and draw in a new swig from the lungs, all in a heartbeat. Tim Vernimmen, Quanta Magazine, "How Life Turns Asymmetric," 31 Jan. 2017 Particles in wildfire smoke can cause respiratory troubles including chest pains, a fast heartbeat or an asthma attack, experts say. Susan Scutti, CNN, "McKinley Fire in Alaska threatens more than 1,000 structures as wildfires rage in a dozen states," 21 Aug. 2019 Even if the collective Patriot vibe from the outside is that of a pack of mercenaries, there is a pointed attempt at creating a singular heartbeat. Conor Orr, SI.com, "Vic Fangio Is Bringing His Hometown Vibes to Denver," 19 Aug. 2019 Buffs fans would take that in a heartbeat from Mel Tucker, given a slate that draws the top four programs in the North and two likely bowl squads during the run-up to conference play. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "What do the CU Buffs and CSU Rams have to do to go bowling?," 17 Aug. 2019 In January, a state judge struck down Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Steve King says without rape and incest, there wouldn’t “be any population of the world left”," 14 Aug. 2019

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

8 Sep 2019

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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 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

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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

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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