impulsive

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

Essential Meaning of impulsive

1 : doing things or tending to do things suddenly and without careful thought : acting or tending to act on impulse She's impulsive and often does things that she later regrets.
2 : done suddenly and without planning : resulting from a sudden impulse He needs to learn to control his impulsive behavior. She made an impulsive decision to quit her job.

Full Definition of impulsive

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

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Other Words from impulsive

impulsively adverb
impulsiveness noun
impulsivity \ im-​ˌpəl-​ˈsi-​və-​tē How to pronounce impulsive (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 The impulsive decision could be fatal for the media conglomerate, potentially attracting the attention of the government and affecting every employee. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 18 Oct. 2021 Love hates that everyone accuses her of being impulsive and that nobody GETS her. Jessica Goldstein, Vulture, 15 Oct. 2021 When faced with a situation that seems dangerous, a resilient person has learned not to be impulsive and reactive. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2021 His Bond still likes his martinis shaken, not stirred, and his impulsive streak and proclivity for corny one-liners remain intact. cleveland, 5 Oct. 2021 The risk of an impulsive attack is too great, therefore, to attempt a ship-to-ship transfer of the oil without external security, which would need to be provided by a foreign military. The New Yorker, 4 Oct. 2021 Piggee had a youthful, impulsive energy as Man No. 1, who played Donté on opening night. San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Oct. 2021 But Christopher also shouldn’t have been so impulsive and thought it through a little bit! Seriously! Mara Reinstein, Vulture, 1 Oct. 2021 While McConnell is deliberate and calculating, Trump is impulsive. Michael Warren, CNN, 9 Sep. 2021

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 3

History and Etymology for impulsive

see impulse entry 1

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Time Traveler for impulsive

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near impulsive

impulsion

impulsive

impulsor

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Statistics for impulsive

Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Impulsive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impulsive. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for impulsive

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 impulsive (audio) \ noun, plural impulsivities

More from Merriam-Webster on impulsive

Nglish: Translation of impulsive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impulsive for Arabic Speakers

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