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[im-pech-oo-uh s] /ɪmˈpɛtʃ u əs/
of, relating to, or characterized by sudden or rash action, emotion, etc.; impulsive:
an impetuous decision; an impetuous person.
having great impetus; moving with great force; violent:
the impetuous winds.
Origin of impetuous
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French < Late Latin impetuōsus, equivalent to Latin impetu(s) impetus + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
impetuously, adverb
impetuousness, noun
Can be confused
compulsive, impulsive, impetuous (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. eager, headlong. Impetuous, impulsive both refer to persons who are hasty and precipitate in action, or to actions not preceded by thought. Impetuous suggests eagerness, violence, rashness: impetuous vivacity; impetuous desire; impetuous words. Impulsive emphasizes spontaneity and lack of reflection: an impulsive act of generosity.
1. planned, careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for impetuousness
Contemporary Examples
  • The same brash arrogance and impetuousness applied to criminal cases rather than flame wars has had real consequences.

    The New Vigilantes Jacob Siegel October 18, 2013
Historical Examples
  • That is, the impetuousness of his thought makes one aware of how his instinct is struggling for the solution of his difficulties.

    The Critical Game John Albert Macy
  • "We forgive much to the impetuousness of youth," said he, very coldly.

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
  • The glistening youth of Aaron, the impetuousness of Lilly fascinated him.

    Aaron's Rod D. H. Lawrence
  • She was not being facetious, for in her impetuousness she had tried, and broken the umbrella.

    Rich Relatives Compton Mackenzie
  • On the instant he felt that marvelous return of the impetuousness, the intense excitement, the increasing expectancy of youth.

    Alexander's Bridge and The Barrel Organ Willa Cather and Alfred Noyes
  • On the whole he was a thoroughly good and kind man, on whom his moods and impetuousness played shabby tricks.

  • impetuousness, inherited in his family, carried him away like a wild horse, and took from him presence of mind.

    Quo Vadis Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • I would fain learn if generosity is united to impetuousness, probity of spirit to his assumption of singularity and independence.

  • I made a great effort, and threw off the impetuousness which desired to know everything at once.

    A Maid of the Kentucky Hills Edwin Carlile Litsey
British Dictionary definitions for impetuousness


liable to act without consideration; rash; impulsive
resulting from or characterized by rashness or haste
(poetic) moving with great force or violence; rushing: the impetuous stream hurtled down the valley
Derived Forms
impetuously, adverb
impetuousness, impetuosity (ɪmˌpɛtjʊˈɒsɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin impetuōsus violent; see impetus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for impetuousness



late 14c., "hot-tempered, fierce," from Old French impetuos (13c.) and directly from Late Latin impetuosus "impetuous, violent," from Latin impetus "attack" (see impetus). Related: Impetuously; impetuousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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