impulsive Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite proceeding from natural feeling or impulse without external stimulus
    • an impulsive gesture of affection
  2. adjective satellite without forethought
    • letting him borrow her car was an impulsive act that she immediately regretted
  3. adjective satellite having the power of driving or impelling
    • a driving personal ambition
    • the driving force was his innate enthusiasm
    • an impulsive force
  4. adjective satellite determined by chance or impulse or whim rather than by necessity or reason
    whimsical; capricious.
    • a capricious refusal
    • authoritarian rulers are frequently capricious
    • the victim of whimsical persecutions
  5. adjective satellite characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation; (`brainish' is archaic)
    impetuous; brainish; tearaway; madcap; hotheaded.
    • a hotheaded decision
    • liable to such impulsive acts as hugging strangers
    • an impetuous display of spending and gambling
    • madcap escapades


Im*pul"sive adjective
Cf. F. impulsif.
  1. Having the power of driving or impelling; giving an impulse; moving; impellent.
    Poor men! poor papers! We and they Do some impulsive force obey. Prior.
  2. Actuated by impulse or by transient feelings.
    My heart, impulsive and wayward. Longfellow.
  3. (Mech.) Acting momentarily, or by impulse; not continuous; -- said of forces.
Im*pul"sive noun
  1. That which impels or gives an impulse; an impelling agent. Sir W. Wotton.

Webster 1913