Synonym Chooser

How is the word spontaneous distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of spontaneous are automatic, impulsive, instinctive, and mechanical. While all these words mean "acting or activated without deliberation," spontaneous implies lack of prompting and connotes naturalness.

a spontaneous burst of applause

In what contexts can automatic take the place of spontaneous?

The meanings of automatic and spontaneous largely overlap; however, automatic implies action engaging neither the mind nor the emotions and connotes a predictable response.

his denial was automatic

When is it sensible to use impulsive instead of spontaneous?

In some situations, the words impulsive and spontaneous are roughly equivalent. However, impulsive implies acting under stress of emotion or spirit of the moment.

impulsive acts of violence

When could instinctive be used to replace spontaneous?

The synonyms instinctive and spontaneous are sometimes interchangeable, but instinctive stresses action involving neither judgment nor will.

blinking is an instinctive reaction

Where would mechanical be a reasonable alternative to spontaneous?

The words mechanical and spontaneous are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, mechanical stresses the lifeless, often perfunctory character of the response.

a mechanical teaching method

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Cite this Entry

“Spontaneous.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/spontaneous. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

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