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 formsim·pet·u·ous·ly, adverbim·pet·u·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedcompulsive impulsive impetuous (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for impetuous

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.

Antonyms for impetuous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impetuous

Contemporary Examples of impetuous

Historical Examples of impetuous

  • "It is a great deal worse to drive without her," said the impetuous lady.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Then, indeed, she had burst upon him with an impetuous despair that had alarmed him.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • At the impetuous outflinging of her hands, the floor was strewn with pink petals.

  • He was an impetuous leader; but he was skilful too; he never lost his head.

  • Another minute, and impetuous Tom would have burst the window in.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for impetuous



liable to act without consideration; rash; impulsive
resulting from or characterized by rashness or haste
poetic moving with great force or violence; rushingthe impetuous stream hurtled down the valley
Derived Formsimpetuously, adverbimpetuousness or impetuosity (ɪmˌpɛtjʊˈɒsɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for impetuous

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

Word Origin and History for impetuous

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