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

Definition of impromptu

 (Entry 1 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



Definition of impromptu (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from impromptu


impromptu adverb

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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

Adjective 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. Noun although five different lines had been written, the best choice turned out to be an impromptu from the tired actor himself
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Extroverts may be eager to get back to water-cooler chatter and impromptu conversations, but unless every employee is returning to the office five days a week, there will now be two kinds of interactions to manage. Wsj Noted., WSJ, 20 July 2021 Whether it's slung around sturdy trees in your own backyard or thrown in your car for an impromptu adventure, a dependable hammock provides the perfect place to kick back and relax. Jayla Andrulonis, Travel + Leisure, 20 July 2021 What started as a trip to scatter her mother’s ashes has become an impromptu wellness retreat. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 19 July 2021 The impromptu retreat sparked something in Miiesha and opened her eyes to two things: her talent and her real possibility of making it in the music world. Ineye Komonibo,, 19 July 2021 Pitts explained that the pageant began in the ‘30s, when Mormon missionaries living on the Joseph Smith Family Farm, down the road, put on impromptu skits from the Book of Mormon to amuse themselves. Andrew Kay, Longreads, 17 July 2021 White said that the creation of the business was strictly impromptu with no real business plan in place when Chambers was 4 years old. Tyler Carter, Dallas News, 14 July 2021 At a Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, a few days later, Bush gave Merkel an impromptu neck-and-shoulder rub that quickly spread across the internet. Star Tribune, 14 July 2021 The youngsters weren't still for long and an impromptu football game attracted participants of various ages. Arkansas Online, 7 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bombay paisley tents the dining alcove where a piano with American Indian blanket serves alternately as a musical instrument and a table on which Liza may serve an impromptu spaghetti supper. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 18 June 2021 Think: electric eye makeup for a pop of color on Zoom screen or impromptu, DIY at-home haircuts that ran the gamut from minor trims to full-on bobs. Akili King, Vogue, 21 May 2021 Hundreds of thousands of people pass through it even on a slow day, and visitors should not be surprised to catch impromptu concerts, yoga classes, and street performances here. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 1 Mar. 2021 Morikawa also had an impromptu chipping lesson with short-game guru and former PGA champion Paul Azinger earlier this week. Steve Dimeglio, The Arizona Republic, 1 Mar. 2021 The impromptu extended concert provided an exuberant break in the routine for nurses Tenita Morris, Tiffany Jones and Kenosha Nabors, who came from Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, respectively, to help with the vaccine program. Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2021 Psychedelic and funky, The Artful Escape is a long-in-the-making indie adventure following guitar prodigy Francis through a colorful landscape dotted with fluffy bug creatures and impromptu concert stages. Wired Staff, Wired, 4 Feb. 2021 That the mayor and UFT abruptly reversed course may be thanks in part to a coalition of moms across the city who launched an impromptu, grassroots fight to keep their children in school. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, 3 Dec. 2020 Barr, who isn’t a big drinker, keeps bottles of blended and single malt whiskeys in his office for occasional impromptu, end-of-the-day, decompression get-togethers with his staff. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2020

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


1764, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1683, 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

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The first known use of impromptu was in 1683

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Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Impromptu.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on impromptu

Nglish: Translation of impromptu for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impromptu for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about impromptu


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