impulsive

adjective im·pul·sive \ im-ˈpəl-siv \

Definition of impulsive

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

impulsively

adverb

impulsiveness

noun

impulsivity

play \im-ˌpəl-ˈsi-və-tē\ noun

Examples of impulsive in a Sentence

  1. 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 WolffOld School2003
  2. 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 KidderHome Town1999
  3. 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 OatesVogueNovember 1990
  4. She's impulsive and often does things that she later regrets.

  5. He needs to learn to control his impulsive behavior.

  6. She made an impulsive decision to quit her job.

Recent Examples of impulsive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of impulsive

Synonym Discussion of 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

IMPULSIVE Defined for English Language Learners

impulsive

adjective

Definition of impulsive for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

impulsive

adjective im·pul·sive \ im-ˈpəl-siv \

Definition of impulsive for Students

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

impulsively

adverb

Medical Dictionary

impulsive

adjective im·pul·sive \ im-ˈpəl-siv \

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

impulsively

adverb

impulsiveness

noun

impulsivity

play \-ˌpəl-ˈsiv-ət-ē\ noun plural -ties


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