Simple Definition of impetuous
: acting or done quickly and without thought : controlled by emotion rather than thought
Full Definition of impetuous
1 : marked by impulsive vehemence or passion <an impetuous temperament>
2 : marked by force and violence of movement or action <an impetuous wind>
Examples of impetuous in a sentence
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
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
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
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 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
IMPETUOUS Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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