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pulse 1 (pŭls)
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n.
1. The rhythmical throbbing of arteries produced by the regular contractions of the heart, especially as palpated at the wrist or in the neck.
2.
a. A regular or rhythmical beating.
b. A single beat or throb.
3. Physics
a. A brief sudden change in a normally constant quantity: a pulse of current; a pulse of radiation.
b. Any of a series of intermittent occurrences characterized by a brief sudden change in a quantity.
4. The perceptible emotions or sentiments of a group of people: "a man who had ... his finger on the pulse of America" (Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.)
v. pulsed, puls·ing, puls·es
v.intr.
1. To pulsate; beat: "The nation pulsed with music and proclamation, with rages and moral pretensions" (Lance Morrow).
2. Physics To undergo a series of intermittent occurrences characterized by brief, sudden changes in a quantity.
v.tr.
To chop in short bursts, as in a food processor: The cook pulsed the leeks and added some coriander.
Idiom:
take the pulse of
To judge the mood or views of (a political electorate, for example): The politician was able to take the pulse of the grass-roots voters.

[Middle English pous, puls, from Old French pous, pulz, from Latin pulsus, from past participle of pellere, to beat; see pel-5 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
pulse  2 (pŭls)
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n.
1. The edible seeds of certain pod-bearing plants, such as lentils and chickpeas.
2. A plant yielding these seeds.

[Middle English pols, puls, from Latin puls, pottage of meal and pulse, probably ultimately from Greek poltos.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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