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adjective im·pet·u·ous \im-ˈpech-wəs; -ˈpe-chə-, -chü-əs\

Simple Definition of impetuous

  • : acting or done quickly and without thought : controlled by emotion rather than thought

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of impetuous

  1. 1 :  marked by impulsive vehemence or passion <an impetuous temperament>

  2. 2 :  marked by force and violence of movement or action <an impetuous wind>





Examples of impetuous in a sentence

  1. In one episode of “The Sopranos,” … the young, impetuous mobster Christopher Moltisanti … tries to write a screenplay in the hours when he is not robbing trucks or picking up cannolis for Tony. —David Remnick, New Yorker, 2 Apr. 2001

  2. And from the beginning, NASA was trapped beneath the dominoes, as the Soviets knocked off first satellite, first man in space, first earth orbit, first space walk. But it was Kennedy's impetuous science-fiction PR that really put the pressure on, when he promised to put an American on the moon by the end of the decade. —Erik Davis, Village Voice, 26 July 1994

  3. Men who don't wear hats are generally youthful, vigorous, impetuous, and have a devil-may-care glint in their eyes. —Mike Royko, Like I Was Sayin' …, 1984

  4. He's always been an impetuous young man.

Did You Know?

When we borrowed "impetuous" in the late 14th century, we used it of people and their actions. About a hundred years later, we added another sense to describe physical things like wind or storms or seas. (We don't use this second sense much anymore.) The word comes via Middle French from Late Latin impetuosus, which is from "impetus." Latin impetus (which of course gave us our own impetus, meaning "driving force") essentially means "assault," but it also has figurative senses ranging from "violence" to "ardor." Our "impetuous" has a similar range of meaning, from "violent" to "passionate." It also carries the suggestion of impulsiveness. Often, we put a light touch on the word, as when we refer (somewhat longingly, perhaps) to our "impetuous youth."

Origin and Etymology of impetuous

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin impetuosus, from Latin impetus (see impetus)

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of impetuous

precipitate, headlong, abrupt, impetuous, sudden mean showing undue haste or unexpectedness. precipitate stresses lack of due deliberation and implies prematureness of action <the army's precipitate withdrawal>. headlong stresses rashness and lack of forethought <a headlong flight from arrest>. abrupt stresses curtness and a lack of warning or ceremony <an abrupt refusal>. impetuous stresses extreme impatience or impulsiveness <an impetuous lover proposing marriage>. sudden stresses unexpectedness and sharpness or violence of action <flew into a sudden rage>.

IMPETUOUS Defined for Kids


adjective im·pet·u·ous \im-ˈpe-chə-wəs\

Definition of impetuous for Students

  1. :  acting or done quickly and without thought :  impulsive <an impetuous decision>

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