spontaneous

adjective
spon·​ta·​ne·​ous | \ spän-ˈtā-nē-əs How to pronounce spontaneous (audio) \

Definition of spontaneous

1 : proceeding from natural feeling or native tendency without external constraint
2 : arising from a momentary impulse
3 : controlled and directed internally : self-acting spontaneous movement characteristic of living things
4 : produced without being planted or without human labor : indigenous
5 : developing or occurring without apparent external influence, force, cause, or treatment
6 : not apparently contrived or manipulated : natural

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Other Words from spontaneous

spontaneously adverb
spontaneousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for spontaneous

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

Did You Know?

Spontaneous derives, via the Late Latin spontaneus, from the Latin sponte, meaning "of one's free will, voluntarily," and first appeared in English in the mid-17th century. Thomas Hobbes was an early adopter: he wrote that "all voluntary actions … are called also spontaneous, and said to be done by man's own accord" in his famous 1656 The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance. Today the word is more often applied to things done or said in a natural and often sudden way, without a lot of thought or planning—or to people who do or say things in such a way.

Examples of spontaneous in a Sentence

Shane has a lovely habit of paying us spontaneous visits: one time she brought over a jar of a pickle she'd recently put up; another time just a good story or two. — James Oseland, Saveur, December 2006 Cold viruses can damage the olfactory system directly. This loss of smell may last even after the cold is over. Sometimes the sense comes back as suddenly as it disappeared, perhaps because even as adults we generate new olfactory neurons. Spontaneous improvement might be a person's best hope, because there are no real proven treatments for reversing olfactory nerve damage. Harvard Health Letter, September 2001 Peter Jakobsen of the European Space Agency, which built the Faint Object Camera, drew spontaneous applause at the January meeting when he showed an image of supernova SN1987A from the instrument. — Kristin Leutwyler, Scientific American, March 1994 The comment was completely spontaneous. He's a guy who's spontaneous and fun.
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Recent Examples on the Web

What is certain is that the shooting was neither random nor spontaneous. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Arrests Shed New Light on David Ortiz Shooting as Search for Answers Continues," 18 June 2019 The survey also showed that people crave authentic and spontaneous leaders who don’t sound on message, Blake added. Erika Fry, Fortune, "Does Capitalism Have a PR Problem?," 12 June 2019 But hope for any quick deal evaporated last month following a spontaneous skirmish between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Brendan Buck For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Congress should eliminate the debt limit," 19 June 2019 The cause of the cancer was a spontaneous genetic mutation. Jon Caldara, The Denver Post, "Caldara: Colorado is ready for a reasonable abortion debate," 14 June 2019 Fox’s spin on the North Korean cult of great-leader genius that rationalizes every personal and political excess of Kim Jong Un as a spontaneous reflection of the masses’ own revolutionary desire. David Roth, The New Republic, "Making sense of Donald Trump's petulant reign," 12 June 2019 Since Gemini rules your house of intimacy and Cancer rules your house of travel, keep Eva NYC's Mini Hair Dryer packed up in an overnight bag for spontaneous summer trips. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What June's Scorpio Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 29 May 2019 Scrappy, light-on-their-feet (or wheels) and spontaneous, these traveling MacGyver-style kitchens mirror the can-do spirit of the Alaska adventurer. Anchorage Daily News, "Add these new(ish) Anchorage food trucks to your rotation this summer," 6 June 2019 Rihanna, @badgalriri The bad gal is known for her spontaneous and off-the-cuff posts on social media. Cady Lang, Time, "The 25 Accounts to Follow For the Best Instagram Stories Right Now," 4 June 2019

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

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spontaneous

Late Latin spontaneus, from Latin sponte of one's free will, voluntarily

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Statistics for spontaneous

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spontaneous

The first known use of spontaneous was in 1653

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More Definitions for spontaneous

spontaneous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of spontaneous

: done or said in a natural and often sudden way and without a lot of thought or planning
: doing things that have not been planned but that seem enjoyable and worth doing at a particular time

spontaneous

adjective
spon·​ta·​ne·​ous | \ spän-ˈtā-nē-əs How to pronounce spontaneous (audio) \

Kids Definition of spontaneous

1 : done, said, or produced freely and naturally spontaneous laughter
2 : acting or taking place without outside force or cause a spontaneous fire

Other Words from spontaneous

spontaneously adverb

spontaneous

adjective
spon·​ta·​ne·​ous | \ spän-ˈtā-nē-əs How to pronounce spontaneous (audio) \

Medical Definition of spontaneous

1 : proceeding from natural feeling or native tendency without external constraint
2 : developing without apparent external influence, force, cause, or treatment a spontaneous nosebleed

Other Words from spontaneous

spontaneously adverb

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Comments on spontaneous

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