My heart goes pit-a-pat. Throbs, palpitates. “Pat” is a
gentle blow (Welsh, ffat), and “pit” is a mere ricochet
expletive. We have a vast number of such ricochot words, as
“fiddle-faddle,” “harum-scarum,” “ding-dong,” etc.
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat.
Browning: Pied Piver of Hamelin.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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