- a moving force; impulse; stimulus: The grant for building the opera house gave impetus to the city's cultural life.
- (broadly) the momentum of a moving body, especially with reference to the cause of motion.
Origin of impetus
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for impetus
Finding someone to carry on the legacy of the DVF brand was part of the impetus behind her forthcoming E!Diane von Furstenberg: How I Learned to Love My Wrap Dress
October 27, 2014
My friend, Eleanor, who actually was also the impetus for my writing Running on Empty, was not a Very Good Girl.Jamie Lee Curtis and Naomi Foner on What It Means to Be ‘Very Good Girls’
Jamie Lee Curtis
July 25, 2014
These candidates all claimed that God was the impetus and continuing force behind their campaigns.Judging by the GOP, God Can’t Pick a Campaign Winner
June 3, 2014
The impetus behind this decision was a desire to change the odds for children like my cousin and me.There’s No Better Test for Millennials than the American City
April 19, 2014
The Arizona law seems to apply to services beyond those tied to weddings, but same-sex weddings are the impetus for these bills.Conservative Christians Selectively Apply Biblical Teachings in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate
Kirsten Powers, Jonathan Merritt
February 23, 2014
But the shock was insufficient to repel the impetus of the charge.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
There was no shock of any kind; the bridge had no impetus except from its own weight.Alexander's Bridge and The Barrel Organ
Willa Cather and Alfred Noyes
But now Vere had given an impetus to him—and that was surely stranger.A Spirit in Prison
The impetus of the crowd had carried Miette and Silvere along in this direction.The Fortune of the Rougons
It was indeed the doctor, who, carried by the impetus, rolled into the room.
- an impelling movement or force; incentive or impulse; stimulus
- physics the force that sets a body in motion or that tends to resist changes in a body's motion
Word Origin and History for impetus
early 15c., impetous "rapid movement, rush;" 1640s, with modern spelling, "force with which a body moves, driving force," from Latin impetus "attack, assault, onset, impulse, violence, vigor, force, passion," related to impetere "to attack," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + petere "aim for, rush at" (see petition (n.)).