[ spon-tey-nee-uhs ]
/ spɒnˈteɪ ni əs /
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See synonyms for: spontaneous / spontaneously on Thesaurus.com

coming or resulting from a natural impulse or tendency; without effort or premeditation; natural and unconstrained; unplanned: a spontaneous burst of applause.
(of a person) given to acting upon sudden impulses.
(of natural phenomena) arising from internal forces or causes; independent of external agencies; self-acting.
growing naturally or without cultivation, as plants and fruits; indigenous.
produced by natural process.
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Origin of spontaneous

First recorded in 1650–60; from Late Latin spontāneus, equivalent to Latin spont(e) “willingly” + -āneus (-ān(us) -an + -eus -eous)

synonym study for spontaneous

OTHER WORDS FROM spontaneous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does spontaneous mean?

Spontaneous means natural and unplanned. When you describe an action or event as spontaneous, it means it happened naturally, without having been planned, as in The meeting turned into a spontaneous dance party.

When something that someone does is described as spontaneous, it means it was done out of a natural impulse, without having been thought about beforehand

When spontaneous is used to describe a person, it means they have a tendency to or are known for doing things impulsively and without planning. This is usually used in a positive way to portray them as a fun person who is adventurous and willing to do things on the spur of the moment. Telling someone to be more spontaneous means you want them to be more flexible and willing to do more things on a whim instead of needings for things to be completely structured or scheduled.

The state or quality of being spontaneous is spontaneity.

In a scientific context, spontaneous is used to describe effects that happen independently, without being acted on by outside forces. The most well-known example of its use in this sense is in the term spontaneous combustion, in which something catches on fire due to an internal chemical reaction (as opposed to external ignition).

Example: Julian’s friends knew him as a spontaneous guy who was always up for going on random adventures.

Where does spontaneous come from?

The first records of the word spontaneous come from the mid-1600s. It comes from the Late Latin word spontāneus, which is related to the Latin spont(e), meaning “willingly” or “voluntarily.”

When you describe someone as spontaneous, it implies that they’re “up for anything”—they’re willing to try something new at a moment’s notice (without needing to plan or prepare for it). Telling someone who’s going on vacation to “plan to be spontaneous” sounds like an oxymoron (a contradiction in terms), but it really just means that they should reserve some time that is not planned out, when they can choose to do whatever you want.

When someone makes a spontaneous speech, they are speaking without having planned what they were going to say. More common synonyms for this are impromptu, extemporaneous, offhand, and off-the-cuff.

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What are some other forms related to spontaneous?

  • spontaneously (adverb)
  • spontaneousness (noun)
  • spontaneity  (noun)

What are some synonyms for spontaneous?

What are some words that share a root or word element with spontaneous

What are some words that often get used in discussing spontaneous?


How is spontaneous used in real life?

Spontaneous is most commonly used in a positive way to imply a flexibility to do fun and adventurous things.


Try using spontaneous!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of spontaneous?

A. unplanned
B. unforced
C. scheduled
D. impromptu

How to use spontaneous in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spontaneous

/ (spɒnˈteɪnɪəs) /

occurring, produced, or performed through natural processes without external influencespontaneous movement
arising from an unforced personal impulse; voluntary; unpremeditateda spontaneous comment
(of plants) growing naturally; indigenous

Derived forms of spontaneous

spontaneously, adverbspontaneousness, noun

Word Origin for spontaneous

C17: from Late Latin spontāneus, from Latin sponte voluntarily
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