The aversion to impactful is reinforced by the distaste some people have for its root impact, especially when that word is used as a verb. (See usage note at impact ). But if impactful is indeed derived from the verb rather than the noun—which is not a certainty—there is nothing ungrammatical about that. When added to a verb, -ful has the meaning “apt to” or “able to,” as in mournful, wakeful, forgetful, and worshipful. Impactful may eventually settle into the language in similar fashion.
In sum, impactful entered English as a normal part of language growth and change, and there is no legitimate linguistic reason to reject it. Although there are alternative words available, English welcomes synonymy. And although the negative reactions to impactful may well be further encouraged by a sense that it is commonly found in so-called business-speak or other jargon-filled contexts, in truth the word, from its beginnings, has also been recorded in reputable newspapers, magazines, academic journals, and books.
Nevertheless, the very fact that so many people have passionate, unyielding objections to impactful makes it advisable to think twice before using it in contexts where it might not be accepted. Perhaps its variant impactive, with exactly the same meaning, is less likely to raise hackles. However, the “-ive” form appears in print only about one-fourth as often as the controversial impactful.
Examples from the Web for impactful
I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation.
Was there ever a moment when you realized that you had an impactful voice?Morgan Freeman Says WTF to GOP, Dishes on ‘Last Vegas,’ ‘12 Years a Slave,’ and Batfleck|Marlow Stern|October 23, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Perhaps, with creativity like that demonstrated by Justin Rowe's sculptures, there may be always be an impactful place for print!
But that romantic vision is colliding with reality, and the results are both ugly and impactful.Maine, Iowa Caucus Mishaps Prove It’s Time for a Better System|John Avlon|February 15, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Building wealth inevitably involves others, and significant, impactful social interaction.