[ im-puhl-siv ]
/ ɪmˈpʌl sɪv /


actuated or swayed by emotional or involuntary impulses: an impulsive child.
having the power or effect of impelling; characterized by impulsion: impulsive forces.
inciting to action: the impulsive effects of a revolutionary idea.
Mechanics. (of forces) acting momentarily; not continuous.

Nearby words

  1. impulse,
  2. impulse buying,
  3. impulse control disorder,
  4. impulse turbine,
  5. impulsion,
  6. impulsive obsession,
  7. impulsively,
  8. impulsiveness,
  9. impulsivity,
  10. impundulu

Origin of impulsive

1375–1425 for an earlier sense; 1545–55 for current senses; late Middle English impulsif < Medieval Latin impulsīvus. See impulse, -ive

SYNONYMS FOR impulsive
Related forms
Can be confusedcompulsive impulsive impetuous (see synonym study at impetuous) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impulsivity

British Dictionary definitions for impulsivity


/ (ɪmˈpʌlsɪv) /


characterized by actions based on sudden desires, whims, or inclinations rather than careful thoughtan impulsive man
based on emotional impulses or whims; spontaneousan impulsive kiss
forceful, inciting, or impelling
(of physical forces) acting for a short time; not continuous
(of a sound) brief, loud, and having a wide frequency range
Derived Formsimpulsively, adverbimpulsiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for impulsivity
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for impulsivity


[ ĭm-pŭlsĭv ]


Inclined or tending to act on impulse rather than thought.
Motivated by or resulting from impulse.
Related formsim•pulsive•ness null n.

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