The word pulse has many shades of meaning, but most of them involve something characterized by short, rhythmic bursts. If you’re angry, the muscles in your jaw might pulse — meaning they contract quickly in short bursts.

Pulse can be a noun that describes the rhythmic pumping of blood through your veins and arteries. You’ve probably had a nurse take your pulse as a way to measure your heart rate. Pulse can refer to other things that have a rhythmic beat, like the pulse of dance music or a pulse of flashing light. The verb describes something that throbs, literally or figuratively. Your blood will pulse through your veins, or a busy city may pulse with life.

Definitions of pulse
  1. noun
    the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart
    synonyms: beat, heartbeat, pulsation
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    the widening of the chambers of the heart between two contractions when the chambers fill with blood
    the contraction of the chambers of the heart (especially the ventricles) to drive blood into the aorta and pulmonary artery
    pounding, throb, throbbing
    an instance of rapid strong pulsation (of the heart)
    a premature systole resulting in a momentary cardiac arrhythmia
    type of:
    periodic event, recurrent event
    an event that recurs at intervals
  2. noun
    the rate at which the heart beats; usually measured to obtain a quick evaluation of a person's health
    synonyms: heart rate, pulse rate
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    femoral pulse
    pulse of the femoral artery (felt in the groin)
    radial pulse
    pulse of the radial artery (felt in the wrist)
    type of:
    vital sign
    sign of life; usually an indicator of a person's general physical condition
    a magnitude or frequency relative to a time unit
  3. verb
    expand and contract rhythmically; beat rhythmically
    synonyms: pulsate, throb
    beat, pulsate, quiver
    move with or as if with a regular alternating motion
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    type of:
    beat, pound, thump
    move rhythmically
  4. verb
    drive by or as if by pulsation
    “A soft breeze pulsed the air”
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    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  5. noun
    (electronics) a sharp transient wave in the normal electrical state (or a series of such transients)
    synonyms: impulse, pulsation, pulsing
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    type of:
    undulation, wave
    (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
  6. verb
    produce or modulate (as electromagnetic waves) in the form of short bursts or pulses or cause an apparatus to produce pulses
    pulse waves”
    “a transmitter pulsed by an electronic tube”
    synonyms: pulsate
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    type of:
    create, make, produce
    create or manufacture a man-made product
  7. noun
    edible seeds of various pod-bearing plants (peas or beans or lentils etc.)
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    type of:
    the seedpod of a leguminous plant (such as peas, beans, or lentils)
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