pulse

Definitions

General Science

  • noun a short burst of current or voltage
  • noun a pressure wave that can be felt in an artery each time the heart beats to pump blood
  • noun a leguminous plant that produces seeds eaten as food, e.g. a bean or pea

Agriculture

  • noun a general term for a certain type of seed that grows in pods, and which is often applied to an edible seed of a leguminous plant used for human or animal consumption, e.g. a lentil, bean or pea

Aviation

Computing

  • noun a short period of a voltage level
  • verb to apply a short-duration voltage level to a circuit

Electronics

  • For a quantity which is normally constant, a well-defined variation which increases from a steady value to a maximum, then back to or near the original value, all in a comparatively short time. Pulses may be desired or unwanted. Applications of intentionally-generated pulses include clock pulses, gate pulses, dial pulses, radar pulses, blanking pulses, and certain light pulses. Undesired pulses include noise pulses, spikes, and certain light pulses. A pulse of very short duration is an impulse (3), although both terms are often used synonymously.

Food

  • The general name for most dried leguminous seeds used for their protein content, such as beans, peas, lentils, etc.

Medical

  • noun the regular expansion and contraction of an artery caused by the heart pumping blood through the body, which can be felt with the fingers especially where an artery is near the surface of the body, as in the wrist or neck

Military

  • noun the slight movement which can be felt in the wrist or neck as blood passes along a blood vessel when the heart beats

Origin & History of “pulse”

English has two separate words pulse. The older, ‘seeds of beans, lentils, etc’ (13th c.), comes via Old French pols from Latin puls ‘thick gruel (often made from beans and the like)’. this was a relative of Latin pollen ‘flour’ (source of English pollen) and Latin pulvis ‘powder’ (source of English powder and pulverize). Its plural pultes has given English poultice (16th c.).

Pulse ‘beat of the blood’ (14th c.), comes via Old French pouls from Latin pulsus ‘beating’, a noun use of the past participle of pellere ‘drive, beat’ (source of English appeal, compel (14th c.), dispel (17th c.), expel (14th c.), propel (15th c.), and repel (15th c.)). The derivative pulsāre gave English pulsate (18th c.), and also push.
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