Definitions

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

  • n. A single complete pulsation of the heart.
  • n. A vital force or driving impulse: Broadway is the heartbeat of the New York City theater world.
  • n. An instant: The police arrived at the scene in a heartbeat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One pulsation of the heart; especially an irregular one, hence the emotion which causes it.
  • n. The rhythm at which a heart pulsates, a cardiac indicator
  • n. A driving impulse or vital force.
  • n. A very short space of time; an instant.
  • n. A periodic signal generated by hardware or software to indicate normal operation or to synchronize other parts of a system.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the audible and palpable rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A pulsation of the heart, including one complete systole and diastole, corresponding to that motion in the arteries called the pulse.
  • n. Hence Figuratively, a thought; an emotion, especially one that is tender or sad; a pang; a throb or throe of feeling.

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

  • n. an animating or vital unifying force
  • n. a very short time (as the time it takes the eye to blink or the heart to beat)
  • n. the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart

Etymologies

From heart +‎ beat (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • With the nine-year-old Doha round of trade talks on the back burner, "the only [global] trade negotiation with a heartbeat is the GPA," says Simon Evenett, a trade economist at the University of Saint Gallen in Switzerland.

    EU Pushes China to Open Bidding

  • During thawing, the heartbeat is also the first physiological activity that is restored.

    Archive 2004-09-01

  • "The drum is what we call the heartbeat of our people," he said.

    The Seattle Times

  • Guterl said the walk-a-thon inspired the school and the community to work together to teach students about the importance of the library, which he called the heartbeat of a community.

    Examiner

  • I'd get it in heartbeat if I could get it in .257 Roberts or 7x57.

    Marlin XL7

  • The heart must be “defibrillated” quickly, because a person's chance of surviving drops by 7 to 10 percent for each minute a normal heartbeat is not restored.

    Youth Heart Watch

  • Once a heartbeat is established on sonogram, that rate drops to 5% or less.

    Emergency Contraception Use Does Not Adversely Affect Pregnancy Outcome

  • I was stunned in 2008 when hypocrite John "Erratic-Molasses" McCain did not follow his own "Country First" principle; but instead bet what measly honor he had left to pick a money hungry hillbilly Airhead to be a single-heartbeat from the Presidency.

    In Eugene, Palin says she eats granola too

  • In one of the most reckless, shallow and poorly conceived political judgments in history, John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate and thus told the world she was ready to be one heartbeat from the most important job in the world.

    I'm 'saddened' by 'vicious attacks' on Palin, McCain says

  • Shame on the religious rightwingers (and John McCain) for wanting this deceitful, ignorant sham politician to be a heartbeat from the presidency. —

    Begich Gains Decisive Lead Over Stevens in Alaska Senate Race - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

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