impulsive

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

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 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 After initially befriending the U.S. president despite their starkly different worldviews, Macron has increasingly stood up to the impulsive, America-first Trump on trade, climate change and Iran’s nuclear program. Washington Post, "France won’t scrap tax on tech giants, despite Trump threats," 27 July 2019 Vineyard’s lawyers said the teen was impulsive and immature even for his age. oregonlive, "Oregon judge explains why he didn’t send teen killer to adult court despite atrocity of the crime," 9 May 2020 There is something of the impulsive teen in him too. Barbara Chai, WSJ, "Armie Hammer Is a Family Man, On Screen and Off," 21 Dec. 2018 After more than three years dealing with an impulsive commander in chief who relies on his gut, the Pentagon knows the drill well. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "At the Pentagon, the standard drill: Turn Trump’s tweets into cogent policy," 23 Apr. 2020 Any impulsive decisions or actions might backfire in a very unpleasant way. oregonlive, "Horoscope for April 19, 2020: Happy birthday Kate Hudson; Capricorn, avoid making changes this week," 19 Apr. 2020 Enright always has been impulsive, his friends say. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, "A British actor left Hollywood to fight ISIS. Now he’s marooned in Belize. It’s quite a story.," 15 Oct. 2019 Christine Bobbish: My pantry is full of impulsive, sometimes quirky, gets quickly pushed to the back of the shelf items––kind of like my closet! Jasmin Perez, Sunset Magazine, "Best of the West: From CBD Gumdrops to Garden Supplies, These Are the Brands We Support," 13 Apr. 2020 This includes worsening depression, self-medication with substances… and a rapid increase/escalation of out-of-character, impulsive, and irrational behavior. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Crimes of ex-NFL star Kellen Winslow said to be driven by brain injuries," 11 Mar. 2020

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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Statistics for impulsive

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impulsive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impulsive. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for impulsive

impulsive

adjective
How to pronounce impulsive (audio)

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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