impulsive

adjective
im·​pul·​sive | \im-ˈpəl-siv \

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 \ noun

Synonyms for impulsive

Synonyms

capricious, whimsical

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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

Even on actual family vacations, children with ADHD off medication are vulnerable to highly impulsive and disruptive behavior, which increases the chance for sibling conflicts and general stress. Philly.com, "Summer break shouldn't always mean a 'drug holiday' for kids with ADHD," 1 June 2018 Don’t be surprised if an exciting new financial prospect presents itself mid-month, but avoid making an impulsive decision. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What July's Gemini Horoscope Means for You," 29 June 2018 So, a moody friend is also funny; an impulsive friend is also creative; an intense friend is also brave; your overtly religious friend is also [blank]. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Friend inserts God into every conversation," 24 June 2018 Both prosecutors and defense lawyers described the senator’s son as impulsive and immature, even into his late 20s and early 30s. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "Skelos Trial Tests the Boundaries of Fatherly Love and Criminal Law," 11 July 2018 My most vivid memory of Brett was his thoughtful approach to an issue, not impulsive, not off the cuff. Mark Sherman, The Seattle Times, "High-court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is D.C. native, ex-Bush aide," 9 July 2018 But that policy does not specifically mention the impulsive world of social media and texting. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Social media, texting are slippery slopes for sexual harassment on UW campuses," 6 June 2018 My most vivid memory of Brett was his thoughtful approach to an issue, not impulsive, not off the cuff. Mark Sherman, BostonGlobe.com, "Born inside the Beltway, Brett Kavanaugh is part of the GOP legal elite," 10 July 2018

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

22 Sep 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \ noun plural -ties

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Comments on impulsive

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