[ im-pech-oo-uhs ]
See synonyms for: impetuousimpetuouslyimpetuousness on

  1. of, relating to, or characterized by sudden or rash action, emotion, etc.; impulsive: an impetuous decision; an impetuous person.

  2. having great impetus; moving with great force; violent: the impetuous winds.

Origin of impetuous

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin impetuōsus, equivalent to Latin impetu(s) “an attack” + -ōsus adjective suffix; see origin at impetus, -ous

synonym study For impetuous

1. 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.

Other words for impetuous

Opposites for impetuous

Other words from impetuous

  • im·pet·u·ous·ly, adverb
  • im·pet·u·ous·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with impetuous

  • impetuous , impulsive (see synonym study at the current entry)

Words Nearby impetuous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use impetuous in a sentence

  • Zakir is a fearless and impetuous fighter, a former Guantanamo prisoner who earned a reputation for brutality on the battlefield.

  • Referring to his numerous divorces, he writes, "I was young, impetuous, and lonely."

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  • It was a kind of incredible performance, half on earth and half in the air: it rushed with such impetuous momentum.

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
  • "You have been placed under arrest by order of the Ministry," replied Bézard, speaking in his quick, impetuous way.

    The Doctor of Pimlico | William Le Queux
  • Oh, those Camford conversations—how impetuous, how interesting, how thoroughly hearty and unconventional they were!

    Julian Home | Dean Frederic W. Farrar
  • A rush of impetuous words followed by the collapse of his father's form upon the pillow showed that the examination was over.

    The Circular Study | Anna Katharine Green
  • It was an exciting moment as that great bulk came on, its tons of sodden wood backed by the impetuous forces of the torrent.

British Dictionary definitions for impetuous


/ (ɪmˈpɛtjʊəs) /

  1. liable to act without consideration; rash; impulsive

  2. resulting from or characterized by rashness or haste

  1. poetic moving with great force or violence; rushing: the impetuous stream hurtled down the valley

Origin of impetuous

C14: from Late Latin impetuōsus violent; see impetus

Derived forms of impetuous

  • impetuously, adverb
  • impetuousness or impetuosity (ɪmˌpɛtjʊˈɒsɪtɪ), noun

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