instinctive

adjective
in·​stinc·​tive | \ in-ˈstiŋ(k)-tiv How to pronounce instinctive (audio) \

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

With Foster sidelined, Hamilton's growth became more imperative for Washington, and during the Redskins' mandatory minicamp in the first week of June, Gruden had said the former Carver-Montgomery standout looked fast and instinctive. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al.com, "Shaun Dion Hamilton tagged ‘most improved’ by Washington Redskins coach," 17 June 2019 As in other countries, many German journalists are left-leaning and display instinctive hostility towards plutocrats. The Economist, "Germany’s business barons are finding it harder to keep a low profile," 15 June 2019 San Diego cleanup hitter Eric Hosmer hit a sharp one-hopper to reliever Trevor Gott, who took an instinctive backhanded stab, but the ball yanked the glove off his hand. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Evan Longoria’s two-run double keys Giants’ victory over Padres," 11 June 2019 The election in 2016 of the first US president since World War II to harbor an instinctive dislike of Europe solidified many Europeans’ fears that their institutions were not capable of coping with challenges to their security and to their borders. Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books, "The Lure of Western Europe," 6 June 2019 This much is certain: the fever that gripped Mallory is an urge more cultural than instinctive. National Geographic, "Why the world’s most daunting mountains inspire me," 11 Apr. 2019 Hooters waitress and model Briana Smith understands better than most the instinctive obsession with the human body, the careful study of its topography, the peaks and valleys of firm muscle sheathed in smooth, supple skin. Ben Crandell, sun-sentinel.com, "Meet Briana Smith: Miss Hooters International contestant and future mortician," 17 June 2019 Weaknesses • Not an instinctive or aggressive scorer. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2018 NBA Draft: Kenrich Williams Scouting Report and Highlights," 17 June 2018 Erdogan remains a savvy campaigner and an instinctive populist whose appeals to nationalists and religious conservatives have won him a large and loyal base of supporters. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, "In Turkey, the opposition finally unites in bid to end Erdogan’s dominance," 14 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

12 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce instinctive (audio) \

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 How to pronounce instinctive (audio) \

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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Comments on instinctive

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