im·​promp·​tu | \ im-ˈpräm(p)-(ˌ)tü How to pronounce impromptu (audio) , -(ˌ)tyü \

Definition of impromptu

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : made, done, or formed on or as if on the spur of the moment : improvised
2 : composed or uttered without previous preparation : extemporaneous



Definition of impromptu (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that is impromptu
2 : a musical composition suggesting improvisation

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Other Words from impromptu


impromptu adverb

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If you think that "impromptu" looks like a relative of "prompt," you're right; both are ultimately derived from the Latin promere, meaning "to bring forth, take out." "Impromptu" was borrowed from French, where it meant "extemporaneously," but French speakers picked it up from the Latin phrase in promptu, a "promere" descendant meaning "in readiness" or "at hand." There is also another, much rarer descendant of "promere" in English - the noun promptuary, meaning "a book of ready reference."

Examples of impromptu in a Sentence

Adjective Two of my friends came by unexpectedly, and we had an impromptu little party in my kitchen. He made an impromptu speech about honor and responsibility. Noun although five different lines had been written, the best choice turned out to be an impromptu from the tired actor himself
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Steve invites himself -- and all their friends from the grocery store - over to celebrate, but Waffles and Mochi have nothing to feed their guests at this impromptu party. Dan Snierson,, 6 Oct. 2021 After the successful impromptu rescue, the divers registered the oceanic manta in a database for the vulnerable species, naming the female animal Spi-Phyll. Kelli Bender,, 30 Sep. 2021 Harris, during the impromptu sessions, encouraged the group to continue speaking out on the matter -- even though, in many cases, the Democrats are speaking out against how President Joe Biden is handling the situation. Kevin Liptak, CNN, 24 Sep. 2021 That includes everything from the sacrifice prayer for the sheep, the texture of the meat, and the ability to field impromptu questions judges throw at them in Diné Bizaad, the name of the Diné language, about the anatomy of a sheep. The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Sep. 2021 In a series of tweets, Pierce wrote his own impromptu eulogy for his friend and collaborator. Essence, 7 Sep. 2021 His posse — a group of fellow teenage hyperpop musicians including ericdoa, midwxst, glasear, and Zetra — has followed, performing impromptu freestyles and handing stickers to fans in the crowd to pass the time. Justin Curto, Vulture, 3 Sep. 2021 Joy Behar and Sara Haines remained on set to wait for Harris’ interview and field impromptu questions from audience members. Caitlin Mcfall, Fox News, 24 Sep. 2021 The lone restaurant at Two Harbors hosts many impromptu TCT victory parties. Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Machado, who has a $300 million, 10-year contract, did most of the talking during the impromptu, three-minute availability with the media after batting practice. Bernie Wilson, ajc, 22 Sep. 2021 Springsteen’s impromptu, unannounced performance followed a moment of silence at 9:03am EST time for victims of the World Trade Center attack. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 11 Sep. 2021 Still, the senator’s frequent impromptu trips to Mar-a-Lago remain a bit of a puzzlement to the former president. New York Times, 14 Aug. 2021 After dinner, an impromptu after-party came together once everyone had relocated to the front porch of one of the partygoers. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 28 July 2021 Bombay paisley tents the dining alcove where a piano with American Indian blanket serves alternately as a musical instrument and a table on which Liza may serve an impromptu spaghetti supper. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 18 June 2021 Think: electric eye makeup for a pop of color on Zoom screen or impromptu, DIY at-home haircuts that ran the gamut from minor trims to full-on bobs. Akili King, Vogue, 21 May 2021 Hundreds of thousands of people pass through it even on a slow day, and visitors should not be surprised to catch impromptu concerts, yoga classes, and street performances here. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 1 Mar. 2021 Morikawa also had an impromptu chipping lesson with short-game guru and former PGA champion Paul Azinger earlier this week. Steve Dimeglio, The Arizona Republic, 1 Mar. 2021

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


1764, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1683, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impromptu


French, from impromptu extemporaneously, from Latin in promptu in readiness

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Time Traveler for impromptu

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The first known use of impromptu was in 1683

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Last Updated

8 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Impromptu.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for impromptu



English Language Learners Definition of impromptu

: not prepared ahead of time : made or done without preparation


im·​promp·​tu | \ im-ˈprämp-tü How to pronounce impromptu (audio) , -tyü \

Kids Definition of impromptu

: not prepared ahead of time : made or done without preparation an impromptu speech

More from Merriam-Webster on impromptu

Nglish: Translation of impromptu for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impromptu for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about impromptu


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