[ in-stingk-tiv ]
See synonyms for: instinctiveinstinctively on

  1. of, relating to, or of the nature of instinct.

  2. prompted by or resulting from or as if from instinct; natural; unlearned: an instinctive will to survive.

Origin of instinctive

First recorded in 1640–50; instinct1 + -ive
  • Also in·stinc·tu·al [in-stingk-choo-uhl]. /ɪnˈstɪŋk tʃu əl/.

Other words for instinctive

Other words from instinctive

  • in·stinc·tive·ly, in·stinc·tu·al·ly, adverb
  • half-in·stinc·tive, adjective
  • non·in·stinc·tive, adjective
  • non·in·stinc·tu·al, adjective
  • sem·i-in·stinc·tive, adjective
  • un·in·stinc·tive, adjective
  • un·in·stinc·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use instinctive in a sentence

  • He says it is impossible because it would be a non-instinctive act, and, as is well known animals act only through instinct.

British Dictionary definitions for instinctive



/ (ɪnˈstɪŋktɪv) /

  1. of, relating to, or resulting from instinct

  2. conditioned so as to appear innate: an instinctive movement in driving

Derived forms of instinctive

  • instinctively or instinctually, adverb

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