Synonyms & Antonyms of impulse

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Frequently Asked Questions About impulse

How does the noun impulse contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of impulse are goad, incentive, inducement, motive, and spur. While all these words mean "a stimulus to action," impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution.

buying on impulse

In what contexts can goad take the place of impulse?

In some situations, the words goad and impulse are roughly equivalent. However, goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire.

thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency

Where would incentive be a reasonable alternative to impulse?

The words incentive and impulse are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, incentive applies to an external influence (such as an expected reward) inciting to action.

a bonus was offered as an incentive

When would inducement be a good substitute for impulse?

The words inducement and impulse can be used in similar contexts, but inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another.

offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe

When can motive be used instead of impulse?

The meanings of motive and impulse largely overlap; however, motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act.

a motive for the crime

When is spur a more appropriate choice than impulse?

Although the words spur and impulse have much in common, spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor.

fear was a spur to action

Learn More About impulse

Time Traveler for impulse

Time Traveler

The first known use of impulse was in 1611

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Thesaurus Entries Near impulse




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Cite this Entry

“Impulse.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on impulse

Nglish: Translation of impulse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impulse for Arabic Speakers


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