pal·​pi·​tate | \ ˈpal-pə-ˌtāt How to pronounce palpitate (audio) \
palpitated; palpitating

Definition of palpitate

intransitive verb

: to beat rapidly and strongly : throb My heart began to palpitate when I was announced as the winner.

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Examples of palpitate in a Sentence

My heart began to palpitate when I was announced as the winner. the man's heart began to palpitate, and he feared another attack was coming on
Recent Examples on the Web The past three seasons, their games were marked by palpitating comebacks. New York Times, "Ohio State Passes Its First Test of the Season by Beating Penn State," 23 Nov. 2019 Anyway, back to the point: Rachel Bilson bumped into Adam Brody at JFK Airport, and the hearts of millennials across the globe promptly stopped, palpitated, or completely exploded. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody Ran Into Each Other at the Airport," 14 Aug. 2019 Not to get all misty about hallowed visual-effects goldentimes, but Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion skeletons made for a heart-palpitating battle in Jason and the Argonauts. Mary H. K. Choi, WIRED, "High-Stakes Fight Scenes Pull No Punches," 28 Feb. 2011 Codeblack, a division of Lionsgate, took things a step further—perhaps too far for our soft, palpitating hearts. Yohana Desta,, "A Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o Movie Would Be the Best Thing Twitter Has Ever Done," 24 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'palpitate.' 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 palpitate

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for palpitate

Latin palpitatus, past participle of palpitare, frequentative of palpare to stroke

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Time Traveler for palpitate

Time Traveler

The first known use of palpitate was circa 1623

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Statistics for palpitate

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Palpitate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for palpitate


How to pronounce palpitate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of palpitate

of the heart : to beat quickly and strongly and often in a way that is not regular because of excitement, nervousness, etc.


pal·​pi·​tate | \ ˈpal-pə-ˌtāt How to pronounce palpitate (audio) \
palpitated; palpitating

Kids Definition of palpitate

pal·​pi·​tate | \ ˈpal-pə-ˌtāt How to pronounce palpitate (audio) \
palpitated; palpitating

Medical Definition of palpitate

: to beat rapidly, irregularly, or forcibly used especially of the heart

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More from Merriam-Webster on palpitate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for palpitate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with palpitate

Spanish Central: Translation of palpitate

Nglish: Translation of palpitate for Spanish Speakers

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