instinctive

adjective
in·​stinc·​tive | \in-ˈstiŋ(k)-tiv \

Definition of instinctive 

1 : of, relating to, or being instinct

2 : prompted by natural instinct or propensity : arising spontaneously an instinctive fear of innovation— V. L. Parrington

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Other Words from instinctive

instinctively adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for instinctive

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 instinctive in a Sentence

Cats have an instinctive desire to hunt. the instinctive reaction of a mother is to protect her children

Recent Examples on the Web

The world will be lonelier without John McCain, his faith in America and his instinctive sense of moral duty. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Henry Kissinger's Eulogy for John McCain," 1 Sep. 2018 Alexander, who starred at Rocky River, has the speed, instinctive ball skills and swagger to start opposite James Bradberry from the first day of camp. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Offensive playmaker or starting caliber CB for Panthers? Here's how they get both. | Charlotte Observer," 25 Apr. 2018 Their headed opener from Eric Lichaj was cancelled out by Mertesacker's instinctive finish, but American Lichaj stole the show just before half-time with a glorious strike. SI.com, "6 of the Best Moments From a Great Weekend of FA Cup Action as Coventry and Forest Pull Off Shocks," 8 Jan. 2018 Absolute hammer of a left foot shot and an instinctive finisher. SI.com, "Arsenal Forward Subject to Interest From Turkish Giants Despite 'Clean Slate' Under Unai Emery," 7 July 2018 An instinctive and intelligent read-and-react player, the 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pounder is a big, thumping run stuffer who has decent foot speed and coverage skills. Nora Princiotti, BostonGlobe.com, "Scouting the 2018 NFL Draft, position by position," 24 Apr. 2018 Any whiff of Reefer Madness hyperbole is perfectly calibrated to trigger an adolescent's instinctive skepticism for whatever an adult suggests. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "What Pot Really Does to the Teen Brain," 1 Dec. 2017 Intelligent, instinctive player with serious playmaking ability. Paul Dehner Jr., Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Bengals 2018 NFL Draft strategy: Safety a surprise need," 17 Apr. 2018 As an immigration lawyer, my first hurdle was always getting through the instinctive distrust that those who have suffered violence and persecution wear as armor. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "On Sending Women Home to Die," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instinctive.' 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 instinctive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near instinctive

instill

instinct

instinction

instinctive

institor

institute

institution

Statistics for instinctive

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instinctive

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

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More Definitions for instinctive

instinctive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of instinctive

: relating to or based on instinct : based on feelings or desires that do not come from thinking or learning

instinctive

adjective
in·​stinc·​tive | \in-ˈstiŋk-tiv \

Kids Definition of instinctive

: of or relating to instinct : resulting from instinct instinctive behavior

Other Words from instinctive

instinctively adverb

instinctive

adjective
in·​stinc·​tive | \in-ˈstiŋ(k)-tiv \

Medical Definition of instinctive 

1 : of, relating to, or being instinct

2 : derived from or prompted by instinct an instinctive fear

Other Words from instinctive

instinctively adverb

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