Etymology
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pulse (n.1)

"a throb, a beat, a stroke," especially a measured, regular, or rhythmical beat, early 14c., from Old French pous, pulse (late 12c., Modern French pouls) and directly from Latin pulsus (in pulsus venarum "beating from the blood in the veins"), past participle of pellere "to push, drive" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive").

Extended usages, of feeling, life, opinion, etc., are attested from early 16c. The figurative use for "life, vitality, essential energy" is from 1530s.

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pulse (n.2)

"peas, beans, lentils; the esculent seeds of any leguminous plant," late 13c., puls, from Old French pouls, pous, pols and directly from Latin puls "thick gruel, porridge, mush," which is suspected of being (perhaps via Etruscan), from Greek poltos "porridge" made from flour, or both the Greek and Latin words might be from the same source (compare pollen), which might be a loanword from a non-PIE Mediterranean language or an as-yet-unknown PIE root.

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pulse (v.)

"to beat, throb," as the arteries or the heart, early 15c., pulsen, from pulse (n.1) or else from Latin pulsare "to beat, throb." Related: Pulsed; pulsing.

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pulser (n.)

by 1940, "device that gives electrical pulses," agent noun from pulse (v.).

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pulseless (n.)

1748, "having no pulse or heartbeat," from pulse (n.1) + -less. Figurative sense of "devoid of energy or feeling" is by 1856.

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poultice (n.)

soft and usually warm mass of meal, etc., and herbs, applied to sores or inflammations on the body," a 17c. alteration of Middle English pultes (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin pultes, ultimately from Latin pultes, plural of puls "porridge" (see pulse (n.2)). The modern form in English predominated from mid-18c.

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pulsar (n.)

"highly magnetized, rotating compact star that emits beams of electromagnetic radiation," 1968, from pulse (n.1), the form on analogy of quasar. When discovered in 1967 via radio telescope, they were thought perhaps to be signals from alien civilizations and astronomers informally dubbed them LGM for "Little Green Men."

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*pel- (5)
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to thrust, strike, drive."

It forms all or part of: anvil; appeal; catapult; compel; dispel; expel; felt (n.) "unwoven fabric matted together by rolling or beating;" filter; filtrate; impel; impulse; interpellation; interpolate; peal; pelt (v.) "to strike (with something);" polish; propel; pulsate; pulsation; pulse (n.1) "a throb, a beat;" push; rappel; repeal; repel; repousse.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pallein "to wield, brandish, swing," pelemizein "to shake, cause to tremble;" Latin pellere "to push, drive;" Old Church Slavonic plŭstĭ.
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sphygmo- 
word-forming element meaning "pulse," from Greek sphygmos "a pulse," from sphyzein "to throb, pulse, beat."
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asphyxia (n.)
1706, "stoppage of pulse, absence of pulse," from Modern Latin asphyxia "stopping of the pulse," from Greek asphyxia "stopping of the pulse," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + sphyzein "to throb, to beat violently," which is of unknown origin.

Obsolete in its original sense; the transferred sense of "suffocation, extreme condition caused by lack of oxygen in the blood" is from 1778, but it is a "curious infelicity of etymology" [OED] because victims of suffocation have a pulse for some time after breathing has stopped. Formerly sometimes nativized as asphyxy. Related: Asphyctic; asphyxial.
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