Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move with a slight tremulous motion; tremble, shake, or quiver.
  • intransitive v. To beat with excessive rapidity; throb.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to throb, beat strongly

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To beat rapidly and more strongly than usual; to throb; to bound with emotion or exertion; to pulsate violently; to flutter; -- said specifically of the heart when its action is abnormal, as from excitement.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To beat or pulsate rapidly; throb; flutter or move with slight throbs (said specifically of the heart when it is characterized by an abnormal or excited movement); tremble; quiver.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. shake with fast, tremulous movements
  • v. cause to throb or beat rapidly
  • v. beat rapidly

Etymologies

Latin palpitāre, palpitāt-, frequentative of palpāre, to touch gently; see palpable.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Comments

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  • I don't perceive it to be so new, at least not in Italian. I've heard of doctors talking about palpitating the breasts to encourage the production of milk. The sense of palpitare in terms of the heart would probably be heart massage. Then again, I'm not a medic or a composer of opera. We studied a few operatic texts in my 'Storia Della Musica' (History of Music) class but DG wasn't one of them.

    December 18, 2007

  • So is this sense of palpitare meaning to fondle relatively new? I recall that in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Donna Elvira sings "...palpitando il cor' mi va."

    December 18, 2007

  • Hmmm. The Italian equivalent palpitare means to massage or fondle. I remember a case of a Romanian lad who cleaned windscreens at the local traffic lights. A woman wearing a bikini-top wound down her side window one day and abused him for having the temerity to clean her glass without permission. He proceeded to reach into the vehicle and palpitate her upper torso without permission.

    She screamed loud enough for the authorities to deport him.

    December 18, 2007

  • This could also be an admonition from Yoda to implement the Heimlich maneuver. STAT.

    December 18, 2007