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

Synonyms & Antonyms for instinctive

Synonyms

Antonyms

  • nonmechanical
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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 Gripped its metal edge in instinctive obedience, desire trickling through my body electric. Faylita Hicks, Longreads, "The Danger of Desire," 2 Apr. 2020 People born in the Year of the Rat are said to be instinctive, acute and alert, which makes them exceptional in business. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: New employee put out by menial task requests," 25 Jan. 2020 The most obvious is instinctive: Why walk into a fictional, trivializing version of one’s own distress? Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Why You Should Watch Movies About Pandemics, During Pandemics," 18 Mar. 2020 One of the smartest, toughest, and most instinctive players of his generation, Reed was once called the best defensive player in the league by Bill Belichick, who always mentions Reed when talking about the great safeties in league history. BostonGlobe.com, "Also inactive for the Patriots was fellow rookie receiver," 4 Nov. 2019 The hosts began to gain momentum after Jordan Pickford's instinctive save from Jeff Hendrick at a corner. SI.com, "Burnley 1-0 Everton: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Jeff Hendrick Punishes Ten-Man Toffees," 5 Oct. 2019 Not, perhaps, as much as a poor farming family like my mother’s, but enough to imbue him, despite his privileged upbringing, with an almost instinctive empathy for ordinary people living ordinary lives. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 These restrictions were less Muslim than Yemeni, instinctive relics of Hoda’s parents’ own upbringing in a society where honor was paramount. Saul Elbein, The New Republic, "Hoda Muthana left the U.S. to join ISIS. Now she wants to return home to stand trial, but the Trump administration won’t let her. She is a test case for the future of birthright citizenship.," 23 Mar. 2020 Your desire for social contact and instinctive warmth may get out of hand. oregonlive, "Horoscope for Jan. 26, 2020: Leo, best to put others first; Virgo, be creative with projects," 26 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for instinctive

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for instinctive

Last Updated

2 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Instinctive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/instinctive. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for instinctive

instinctive

adjective
How to pronounce instinctive (audio)

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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