[im-promp-too, -tyoo]
See more synonyms for impromptu on
  1. made or done without previous preparation: an impromptu address to the unexpected crowds.
  2. suddenly or hastily prepared, made, etc.: an impromptu dinner.
  3. improvised; having the character of an improvisation.
  1. without preparation: verses written impromptu.
  1. something impromptu; an impromptu speech, musical composition, performance, etc.
  2. a character piece for piano common in the 19th century and having, despite its title, a clear-cut form.

Origin of impromptu

1660–70; < French < Latin in promptū in readiness; see in, prompt

Synonyms for impromptu

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for impromptus

acceleration, impromptu, stimulant, ad-lib, spontaneity

Examples from the Web for impromptus

Historical Examples of impromptus

  • I just 'opped about Saigong like a--jackdaw, picking up these impromptus.

    Dragon's blood

    Henry Milner Rideout

  • There are four Impromptus and four Ballades, also four Scherzos.

  • How often have I hover'd at the edge of a crowd of them, to hear their repartees and impromptus!

  • For completeness and height, and for sudden surprise, this speech exceeds all impromptus on record.

    The Brothers' War

    John Calvin Reed

  • Another remarkable question which I feel a wish to touch upon before closing this communication, is that of impromptus.

British Dictionary definitions for impromptus


  1. unrehearsed; spontaneous; extempore
  2. produced or done without care or planning; improvised
  1. in a spontaneous or improvised wayhe spoke impromptu
  1. something that is impromptu
  2. a short piece of instrumental music, sometimes improvisatory in character

Word Origin for impromptu

C17: from French, from Latin in promptū in readiness, from promptus (adj) ready, prompt
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 impromptus


1660s (adv.), 1764 (adj.), from French impromptu (1650s), from Latin in promptu "in readiness," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + promptu, ablative of promptus "readiness," from past participle of promere "to bring out," from pro- "before, forward, for" + emere "to obtain" (see exempt).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper