impulsive

adjective
im·​pul·​sive | \ im-ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce impulsive (audio) \

Definition of impulsive

1 : having the power of or actually driving or impelling
2a : arising from an impulse an impulsive decision
b : prone to act on impulse an impulsive young man
3 : acting momentarily

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Other Words from impulsive

impulsively adverb
impulsiveness noun
impulsivity \ im-​ˌpəl-​ˈsi-​və-​tē How to pronounce impulsivity (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for impulsive

spontaneous, impulsive, instinctive, automatic, mechanical mean acting or activated without deliberation. spontaneous implies lack of prompting and connotes naturalness. a spontaneous burst of applause impulsive implies acting under stress of emotion or spirit of the moment. impulsive acts of violence instinctive stresses action involving neither judgment nor will. blinking is an instinctive reaction automatic implies action engaging neither the mind nor the emotions and connotes a predictable response. his denial was automatic mechanical stresses the lifeless, often perfunctory character of the response. a mechanical teaching method

Examples of impulsive in a Sentence

I couldn't make out exactly what had happened, though I could guess how it started—the two of them talking, kidding around when Mrs. Ramsey came down to the library basement to file some periodicals, an impulsive kiss in the stacks … — Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003 There was an odd nobility, a knight-errant quality, about Alan—in his willingness to suffer for the sake of life itself, in his tendency to view himself under harsher light than he would turn on others, in his impulsive generosity. — Tracy Kidder, Home Town, 1999 So speaks Maude Bailey, the celibate feminist scholar heroine of A. S. Byatt's fifth novel, as, in an impulsive collusion with a male scholar she scarcely knows, she runs off to Brittany. — Joyce Carol Oates, Vogue, November 1990 She's impulsive and often does things that she later regrets. He needs to learn to control his impulsive behavior. She made an impulsive decision to quit her job.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Busey's frontal lobe damage, which made him more impulsive and prone to anger and delusions of grandeur, also impacted his creative mastery — his ability to compose music. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, "Gary Busey, Set to Play God, Believes "There Is No Death"," 22 Aug. 2019 But while Truman’s road trip seemed innocently impulsive, the camping vacations of The Vagabonds a generation earlier were, as Guinn tells it, more calculating. Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Henry Ford and Thomas Edison steered Americans toward a love of road trips," 28 July 2019 John scattered and impulsive; Anthony methodical and sensible. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Carole Radziwill Reflects on John F. Kennedy Jr.'s Wedding Day on the Anniversary of His Death," 17 July 2019 There's a chance Chris Paul and Harden could no longer work together, but this fix feels more impulsive than opportunistic. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "The Rockets' Trade for Russell Westbrook Reeks of Desperation," 11 July 2019 Each of his three problems has an obvious or impulsive response, which originates from the automatic process, but is incorrect. Quanta Magazine, "How Many Half-Lives Do You Have?," 12 Jan. 2017 Winning is the only concept that can permeate their psychological crusts; winning, for the Roy children, is also almost impossible given their avaricious, impulsive ogre of a father. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Succession Is Better Than Ever," 11 Aug. 2019 In the movie, Diane Lane plays a writer who flees a devastating divorce with an impulsive trip to Italy. Jacqueline Kantor, Curbed, "Beginning again when a home falls apart," 8 Aug. 2019 The most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Joss Whedon's HBO sci-fi drama The Nevers casts 12 actors," 30 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impulsive.' 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 impulsive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impulsive

see impulse entry 2

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Statistics for impulsive

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impulsive

The first known use of impulsive was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for impulsive

impulsive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of impulsive

: doing things or tending to do things suddenly and without careful thought : acting or tending to act on impulse
: done suddenly and without planning : resulting from a sudden impulse

impulsive

adjective
im·​pul·​sive | \ im-ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce impulsive (audio) \

Kids Definition of impulsive

1 : acting or tending to act suddenly and without careful thought He's impulsive and does things he regrets.
2 : resulting from a sudden impulse an impulsive decision

Other Words from impulsive

impulsively adverb

impulsive

adjective
im·​pul·​sive | \ im-ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce impulsive (audio) \

Medical Definition of impulsive

1 : having the power of or actually driving or impelling
2 : actuated by or prone to act on impulse impulsive behavior
3 : acting momentarily brief impulsive auditory stimuli

Other Words from impulsive

impulsively adverb
impulsiveness noun
impulsivity \ -​ˌpəl-​ˈsiv-​ət-​ē How to pronounce impulsivity (audio) \ noun, plural impulsivities

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Comments on impulsive

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