• synonyms


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

1650–60; < Late Latin spontāneus, equivalent to Latin spont(e) willingly + -āneus (-ān(us) -an + -eus -eous)
Related formsspon·ta·ne·ous·ly, adverbspon·ta·ne·ous·ness, nounnon·spon·ta·ne·ous, adjectivenon·spon·ta·ne·ous·ly, adverbnon·spon·ta·ne·ous·ness, nounsem·i·spon·ta·ne·ous, adjectivesem·i·spon·ta·ne·ous·ly, adverbsem·i·spon·ta·ne·ous·ness, nounsub·spon·ta·ne·ous, adjectivesub·spon·ta·ne·ous·ly, adverbsub·spon·ta·ne·ous·ness, nounun·spon·ta·ne·ous, adjectiveun·spon·ta·ne·ous·ly, adverbun·spon·ta·ne·ous·ness, noun


See more synonyms for spontaneous on Thesaurus.com
1. unpremeditated, free.

Synonym study


1. premeditated.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spontaneously

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Here all the varieties of his studies come into play, as it were, spontaneously.

  • I offer the suggestion generously, freely, and spontaneously.

    Nuts and Nutcrackers

    Charles James Lever

  • What he said came from him spontaneously, without any previous arrangement.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

  • And Desmond was writing again now; fitfully but spontaneously, as of old.

  • He did spontaneously the things that lesser men do at behest of their press-agents.

British Dictionary definitions for spontaneously


  1. occurring, produced, or performed through natural processes without external influencespontaneous movement
  2. arising from an unforced personal impulse; voluntary; unpremeditateda spontaneous comment
  3. (of plants) growing naturally; indigenous
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Derived Formsspontaneously, adverbspontaneousness, noun

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for spontaneously



1650s, from Late Latin spontaneus "willing, of one's free will," from Latin (sua) sponte "of one's own accord, willingly;" of unknown origin. Related: Spontaneously. Earliest use is of persons and characters. Spontaneous combustion first attested 1795. Spontaneous generation (the phrase, not the event) attested from 1650s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper