impulse

[im-puhls]

noun

adjective

marked by or acting on impulse: an impulse buyer.
bought or acquired on impulse: To reduce expenses, shun impulse items when shopping.

Nearby words

  1. impudence,
  2. impudent,
  3. impudicity,
  4. impugn,
  5. impuissant,
  6. impulse buying,
  7. impulse control disorder,
  8. impulse turbine,
  9. impulsion,
  10. impulsive

Origin of impulse

1640–50; < Latin impulsus pressure, impulse, equivalent to im- im-1 + pul- (variant stem of pellere to push) + -sus, variant of -tus suffix of v. action

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impulse


British Dictionary definitions for impulse

impulse

noun

an impelling force or motion; thrust; impetus
a sudden desire, whim, or inclinationI bought it on an impulse
an instinctive drive; urge
tendency; current; trend
physics
  1. the product of the average magnitude of a force acting on a body and the time for which it acts
  2. the change in the momentum of a body as a result of a force acting upon it for a short period of time
physiol See nerve impulse
electronics a less common word for pulse 1 (def. 2)
on impulse spontaneously or impulsively

Word Origin for impulse

C17: from Latin impulsus a pushing against, incitement, from impellere to strike against; see impel

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 impulse

impulse

n.

early 15c., "an act of impelling, a thrust, push," from Latin impulsus "a push against, pressure, shock," also "incitement, instigation, impulse," past participle of impellere (see impel). Meaning "stimulus in the mind arising from some state or feeling" first recorded 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for impulse

impulse

[ĭmpŭls′]

n.

A sudden pushing or driving force.
A sudden wish or urge that prompts an unpremeditated act or feeling; an abrupt inclination.
The electrochemical transmission of a signal along a nerve fiber that produces an excitatory or inhibitory response at a target tissue.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for impulse

impulse

[ĭmpŭls′]

A sudden flow of electrical current in one direction.
An electrical signal traveling along the axon of a neuron. Nerve impulses excite or inhibit activity in other neurons or in the tissues of the body, such as muscles and glands.
The change of momentum of a body or physical system over a time interval in classical mechanics, equal to the force applied times the length of the time interval over which it is applied.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.