im·​promp·​tu | \ im-ˈpräm(p)-(ˌ)tü How to pronounce impromptu (audio) , -(ˌ)tyü\

Definition of impromptu

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is impromptu
2 : a musical composition suggesting improvisation



Definition of impromptu (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made, done, or formed on or as if on the spur of the moment : improvised
2 : composed or uttered without previous preparation : extemporaneous

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Other Words from impromptu


impromptu adverb

Did You Know?


If you think that "impromptu" looks like a relative of "prompt," you're right; both are ultimately derived from the Latin promere, meaning "to bring forth, take out." "Impromptu" was borrowed from French, where it meant "extemporaneously," but French speakers picked it up from the Latin phrase in promptu, a "promere" descendant meaning "in readiness" or "at hand." There is also another, much rarer descendant of "promere" in English - the noun promptuary, meaning "a book of ready reference."

Examples of impromptu in a Sentence


although five different lines had been written, the best choice turned out to be an impromptu from the tired actor himself


Two of my friends came by unexpectedly, and we had an impromptu little party in my kitchen. He made an impromptu speech about honor and responsibility.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

According to one fan, the two stars hung out at the Black Rabbit Rose in Los Angeles last week, where Gaga gave an impromptu jazz performance. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Lady Gaga Has Reportedly Been Spending ‘a Lot of Time’ With Jeremy Renner," 21 Mar. 2019 Fresh from her Oscar win, Lady Gaga is just out here surprising fans by giving impromptu jazz performances. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga Just Channeled Her Bradley Cooper Duet at a Surprise Jazz Club Performance," 16 Mar. 2019 There’s almost as many people here as in my classroom.’’ Legions of teachers then gathered outside on the lawn, and state lawmakers who supported their cause held impromptu meetings. Washington Post,, "North Carolina schools close as teachers confront lawmakers at state capitol," 16 May 2018 No trip, however, is so memorable as the impromptu leap that actually pans out. Joshua Jelly-schapiro, WSJ, "Carnival in Haiti: The Most Raucous Bash in the Caribbean," 19 Feb. 2019 The three of them got together for an impromptu lunch and seemed to have a good time based on their smiling faces. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "Most Iconic Disney Channel Reunions of All Time," 12 Feb. 2019 Markle's impromptu massage session wasn't the only adorable moment to come out of Wednesday's visit to Sussex. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Were So Touchy-Feely at Today's Royal Engagement," 3 Oct. 2018 With Trump, a Cabinet meeting becomes a freewheeling speech to the nation, and a walk to Marine One turns into an impromptu news conference., "Trump’s reveal of his Supreme Court choice will be a show, and that’s how he likes it," 8 July 2018 But the crowd loved Travolta’s impromptu dance, screaming and cheering at the end of his and 50 Cent’s performance. Mariah Haas,, "John Travolta Shows Off His Dance Moves As He Joins 50 Cent On Stage at the Cannes Film Festival," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impromptu.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of impromptu


1683, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1764, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impromptu


French, from impromptu extemporaneously, from Latin in promptu in readiness

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Time Traveler for impromptu

The first known use of impromptu was in 1683

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More Definitions for impromptu



English Language Learners Definition of impromptu

: not prepared ahead of time : made or done without preparation


im·​promp·​tu | \ im-ˈprämp-tü How to pronounce impromptu (audio) , -tyü\

Kids Definition of impromptu

: not prepared ahead of time : made or done without preparation an impromptu speech

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Comments on impromptu

What made you want to look up impromptu? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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