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From heart +‎ beat


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈhɑːtˌbiːt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈhɑɹtˌbit/, [ˈhɑɹʔbiʔ]


heartbeat (plural heartbeats)

  1. One pulsation of the heart; especially an irregular one, hence the emotion which causes it.
    The policeman waited for a heartbeat in vain
    He alone gives me such heartbeats
  2. The rhythm at which a heart pulsates, a cardiac indicator
    If your heartbeat doesn't normalize soon, consult a doctor!
  3. A driving impulse or vital force.
    Music is the heartbeat of the people.
  4. A very short space of time; an instant.
    The ambulance arrived in a heartbeat.
  5. (computing) A periodic signal generated by hardware or software to indicate normal operation or to synchronize other parts of a system.


  • (rhythm at which a heart pulsates): pulse

Derived terms[edit]


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