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[im-puhl-shuh n]
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  1. the act of impelling, driving onward, or pushing.
  2. the resulting state or effect; impulse; impetus.
  3. the inciting influence of some feeling or motive; mental impulse.
  4. a constraining or inciting action exerted on the mind or conduct: divine impulsion.

Origin of impulsion

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin impulsiōn- (stem of impulsiō) incitement. See impulse, -ion
Related formsself-im·pul·sion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for impulsion

Historical Examples

  • It substitutes the attraction of the future for the impulsion of the past.

    Creative Evolution

    Henri Bergson

  • It is due to an identity of impulsion and not to a common aspiration.

    Creative Evolution

    Henri Bergson

  • But, the impulsion once received, mind continues its course.

    Creative Evolution

    Henri Bergson

  • Agriculture, as well as industry, felt the impulsion of the new force.

  • Matter cannot have been produced by force, because force is nothing but the impulsion of matter.

    Ingersoll in Canada

    Allen Pringle

British Dictionary definitions for impulsion


  1. the act of impelling or the state of being impelled
  2. motion produced by an impulse; propulsion
  3. a driving force; compulsion
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

Word Origin and History for impulsion


early 15c., "driving, pushing, thrusting," from Old French impulsion (early 14c.), from Latin impulsionem (nominative impulsio) "external pressure," figuratively "incitement, instigation," noun of action from past participle stem of impellere (see impel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

impulsion in Medicine


  1. An urge to perform certain actions without regard for internal or social constraints.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.