Things that throb have a strong, regular pulse or rhythm. Loud music with a heavy beat or bass line can seem to throb inside your head — especially if your downstairs neighbors are playing it while you're trying to sleep.

Your heartbeat throbs especially fast when you're upset or just after you've been running, and something painful can throb too, like the ache of a stubbed toe. No one's exactly sure where the word throb comes from — most experts guess that it originated as a representation of the sound and feeling of your pulse.

Definitions of throb
  1. verb
    pulsate or pound with abnormal force
    “my head is throbbing
    “Her heart was throbbing
    see moresee less
    twitch or throb with pain
    type of:
    ache, hurt, smart
    be the source of pain
  2. verb
    expand and contract rhythmically; beat rhythmically
    synonyms: pulsate, pulse
    beat, pulsate, quiver
    move with or as if with a regular alternating motion
    see moresee less
    type of:
    beat, pound, thump
    move rhythmically
  3. verb
    tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement
    synonyms: shiver, shudder, thrill
    see moresee less
    type of:
    move or jerk quickly and involuntarily up and down or sideways
  4. noun
    a deep pulsating type of pain
    see moresee less
    type of:
    hurting, pain
    a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder
  5. noun
    an instance of rapid strong pulsation (of the heart)
    synonyms: pounding, throbbing
    see moresee less
    type of:
    beat, heartbeat, pulsation, pulse
    the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week