impulsive

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But Kerr’s impulsive instinct, triggered by a sloppy pass from Stephen Curry, was correct. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "The Warriors' Oldest Nemesis Returns With a Vengeance," 23 May 2018 Like a Gemini, Scarlet Witch is adaptable, intelligent, and even a little impulsive. Marilyn La Jeunesse, Teen Vogue, "Which Superhero You Are According to Your Zodiac Sign," 26 Apr. 2019 The following day Mercury enters bold, impulsive Aries on Wednesday, April 17, following the sun into your house of career. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What April’s Cancer Horoscope Means for You," 31 Mar. 2019 The system will use the loud, impulsive sounds produced by snapping shrimp as sources of opportunity in a multi static sonar system - detecting reflections of those sounds off of the underwater vehicle. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "DARPA Wants to Turn Sealife Into a Giant Submarine Detection Network," 5 Mar. 2019 The eldest of Victoria, Princess Royal's children, Wilhelm was considered brash and impulsive, traits that alienated many and played a significant role in the start of the war. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Queen Victoria's Descendants Still Reign Over Europe," 17 Feb. 2019 Here, two college roommates—assured, resourceful, generous Otilia (an astonishing Anamaria Marinca) and sweet, impulsive, selfish Găbita (Laura Vasiliu)—share an experience that will forever change them, in ways expected and otherwise. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "Cinematic Treasures From an Unexpected Place," 22 Jan. 2019 The key to understanding this: Suicides are often very impulsive, frequently planned within minutes or hours. German Lopez, Vox, "Guns killed more people than car crashes in 2017," 11 Dec. 2018 And over the years, there’s been a growing awareness that there is a neurological basis for the attention issues and hyperactive, impulsive behaviors associated with the disorder. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Kids who start kindergarten young are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD," 17 Dec. 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.

See More

First Known Use of impulsive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impulsive

see impulse entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impulsive

Statistics for impulsive

Last Updated

2 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impulsive

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on impulsive

What made you want to look up impulsive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!