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Definition of "impulse" []

  • An impelling force; an impetus. (noun)
  • The motion produced by such a force. (noun)
  • A sudden wish or urge that prompts an unpremeditated act or feeling; an abrupt inclination: had an impulse to run away; an impulse of regret that made me hesitate; bought a hat on impulse. (noun)
  • A motivating force or tendency: "Respect for the liberty of others is not a natural impulse in most men” ( Bertrand Russell). (noun)
  • Electronics A surge of electrical power in one direction. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "impulse" in a sentence
  • "As regards studies of the abnormalities of the sexual impulse, under the name of _paradoxical sexual impulse_ cases have been published in which that impulse manifested itself at an age of life in which it is normally non-existent -- old age and childhood."
  • "However, he says, today the main impulse is to try to make the books as distinct as possible because they need to stay on the shelves longer."
  • "I do have to consciously stop myself from even asking, but the impulse is always there."