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[in-stingk-tiv] /ɪnˈstɪŋk tɪv/
of, relating to, or of the nature of instinct.
prompted by or resulting from or as if from instinct; natural; unlearned:
an instinctive will to survive.
Also, instinctual
[in-stingk-choo-uh l] /ɪnˈstɪŋk tʃu əl/ (Show IPA)
Origin of instinctive
First recorded in 1640-50; instinct1 + -ive
Related forms
instinctively, instinctually, adverb
half-instinctive, adjective
half-instinctively, adverb
noninstinctive, adjective
noninstinctively, adverb
noninstinctual, adjective
noninstinctually, adverb
semi-instinctive, adjective
semi-instinctively, adverb
uninstinctive, adjective
uninstinctively, adverb
uninstinctiveness, noun
2. spontaneous, intuitive, unpremeditated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for instinctively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • instinctively Dave threw his rifle up, but Erskine caught his arm.

  • instinctively, with one accord, they dived for the cabin companionway.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • As they started to move away, Mr. Ellsworth instinctively extended his hand to Tom again.

    Tom Slade with the Colors Percy K. Fitzhugh
  • Poor child, instinctively she knew the value of life above all other things.

    The Right Knock Helen Van-Anderson
  • The fear they had not felt for the man, they instinctively felt for the cat—their natural enemy.

    '19,000' Burford Delannoy
British Dictionary definitions for instinctively


of, relating to, or resulting from instinct
conditioned so as to appear innate: an instinctive movement in driving
Derived Forms
instinctively, instinctually, adverb
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 instinctively



1610s (implied in instinctively), from Latin instinct-, past participle stem of instinguere (see instinct) + -ive. Related: Instinctiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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