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

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

Adults with the disorder may feel impulsive or have a hard time sitting still and completing tasks. Andrea K. Mcdaniels, baltimoresun.com, "Children aren't the only ones with ADHD; adults get it as well," 17 May 2018 Immortalized in an 1880 portrait by Renoir, Irène—lithe and delicate, but impulsive—was the eldest daughter of one of Paris's wealthiest Jewish financiers, Louis Cahen d'Anvers, an early principal of the bank that later became Paribas. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "A Secret Paris Museum and an Aristocratic Family Decimated by the Holocaust," 9 Feb. 2017 Meanwhile, some investment firms took to social media to encourage people not to make any impulsive moves. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Stock Market Whiplash Rattles Investors," 23 Oct. 2018 That’s right, Cancer darling: No impulsive haircuts, last-minute renovations, or expensive furniture purchases. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Cancer Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 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

15 Dec 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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