Definition of impulsive in English:

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Pronunciation: /imˈpəlsiv/


1Acting or done without forethought: they had married as young impulsive teenagers perhaps he’s regretting his impulsive offer
More example sentences
  • People who are mentally unstable, especially impulsive teenagers, are predisposed to suicide.
  • She and Sam are alike: impulsive, creative, mercurial and entertaining, but they never pay any attention to anybody else.
  • Both were hasty, erratic, impulsive men and capable of atrocious judgment.
impetuous, spontaneous, hasty, passionate, emotional, uninhibited;
rash, reckless, careless, imprudent, foolhardy, unwise, madcap, devil-may-care, daredevil
impromptu, snap, spontaneous, unpremeditated, spur-of-the-moment, extemporaneous;
impetuous, precipitate, hasty, rash;
sudden, ill-considered, ill-thought-out, whimsical
2 Physics Acting as an impulse.
Example sentences
  • It turns out that most of the sounds are various manifestations of impulsive radio emissions from lightning.
  • An impulsive VHF event occurs, and the radiation from it arrives at a given remote station.



Pronunciation: /imˈpəlsivnis/
Example sentences
  • It was just a random act of impulsiveness, I reasoned.
  • He would ground her flightiness and her impulsiveness and she would lighten his sometimes-sober demeanour.
  • So the public has recognized that adolescents, by their nature, are less mature than adults, and that the impulsiveness and poor judgment of youth are mitigating factors that should exempt teenagers from the ultimate punishment.


Pronunciation: /ˌimˌpəlˈsivitē/
Example sentences
  • ‘Inattention, impulsivity, fidgety movement - these are definitely symptoms,’ she said
  • The scientific explanation for addictive personality places importance on that fact that the frontal lobes in the brain may underlie impulsivity.
  • It also works with people who have a wide range of special needs, such as emotional or behavioural problems, impulsivity, or restlessness.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'tending to impel'): from French impulsif, -ive or late Latin impulsivus, from Latin impuls- 'driven onward' (see impulse). sense 1 dates from the mid 18th century.

  • appeal from Middle English:

    Recorded first in legal contexts, appeal comes via Old French from Latin appellare ‘to address, accost, call upon’. Peal (Late Middle English) is a shortening of appeal, perhaps from the call to prayers of a ringing bell. The base of appeal is Latin pellere ‘to drive’, found also in compel ‘drive together’; dispel ‘drive apart’; expel ‘drive out’; impel ‘drive towards’; and impulsive; propel ‘drive forwards’; repel ‘drive back’, all Late Middle English. It is also the source of the pulse (Middle English) that you can feel on your wrist and is related to push (Middle English). The other kind of pulse, an edible seed, is a different word, which comes via Old French from Latin puls ‘porridge of meal or pulse’, related to the sources of both pollen and powder.

Words that rhyme with impulsive

compulsive, convulsive, propulsive, repulsive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: im·pul·sive

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