motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act.
a motive for the crime
impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution.
buying on impulse
incentive applies to an external influence (such as an expected reward) inciting to action.
a bonus was offered as an incentive
inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another.
offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe
spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor.
fear was a spur to action
goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire.
thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency
Examples of impulse in a Sentence
He has to learn to control his impulses.
the new auto factory was just the impulse that the local economy needed
Recent Examples on the Web
Today, the movies teach us, adults already are overgrown children: creatures of impulse and appetite and development arrested by their immersion in pop culture.—Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 2 Dec. 2023 That documentary impulse informs Chowdhury’s narrative as well.—Peter Marks, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2023 More resources Experts say that such barriers or obstructions can help buy time for someone to intervene or for a person’s suicidal impulse to dissipate.—Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2023 But her impulse to use her influence could create headaches for the Carter administration.—Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 Freud saw it as the driving force behind a person’s impulse to satiate their desires.—Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 9 Nov. 2023 Interviewing families with ties to both Israel and the Palestinian territories reveals their impulse to see the humanity of all civilians – and a desire for a cease-fire.—Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Nov. 2023 Because as becomes apparent when one of the group drops dead on the first night of their week-long retreat, all of the wealth and power and influence in the world can only do so much to save humanity from its own humanness — from our mortal bodies, our inconvenient feelings, our messy impulses.—Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Nov. 2023 But also on some way of understanding the mystery the playwright has left us about the power of envy and possessiveness to trigger lethal impulses.—Peter Marks, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023
With a wide variety of sizes, there's something for just about everyone, from the heads of large households to impulse shoppers at gas stations to parents packing kids' school lunches every morning.—Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN, 14 July 2022 Across six movies and massive advances in visual effects technology, Hollywood has been wrestling with a version of that same craven because-they-can impulse.—Peter Debruge, Variety, 8 June 2022 According to Gyllander, her audience doesn’t want to impulse-buy products algorithmically served to them between wedding photos.—Leah Prinzivalli, Outside Online, 22 Apr. 2020 Cutler, who frequently posts on the group, says that a lot of posts are from people who have recently impulse-purchased chickens, not knowing what to do with them, and that a lot of the birds being put up for sale are clearly sick.—Dallas News, 22 Apr. 2020 Women displayed way more brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, the region that deals with decision making, focus and impulse control.—Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, 8 Aug. 2017 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'impulse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.