Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Prompted by the occasion rather than being planned in advance: an impromptu party.
  • adj. Spoken, performed, done, or composed with little or no preparation; extemporaneous: a few impromptu remarks. See Synonyms at extemporaneous.
  • adv. With little or no preparation; extemporaneously.
  • n. Something, such as a speech, that is made or done extemporaneously.
  • n. Music A short composition, especially for the piano, performed in an offhand or extemporized style.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Improvised; without prior preparation; extemporaneous; unplanned.
  • n. a short musical composition for an informal occasion often with the character of improvisation and usually to be played solo.
  • n. any composition, musical or otherwise, that is created on the spot without preparation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. Offhand; without previous study; extemporaneous; extempore.
  • n. Something made or done offhand, at the moment, or without previous study; an extemporaneous composition, address, or remark.
  • n. A piece composed or played at first thought; a composition in the style of an extempore piece.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Offhand; without previous study or preparation: as, a verse written impromptu.
  • Prompt; offhand; extempore; extemporized for the occasion: as, an impromptu epigram.
  • n. Something said or written, played, etc., at the moment, or without previous study or preparation; an extemporaneous composition or performance.
  • n. In music: An extemporized composition; an improvisation.
  • n. A composition in irregular form, as if extemporized; a fantasia.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an extemporaneous speech or remark
  • adv. without advance preparation
  • n. a short musical passage that seems to have been made spontaneously without advance preparation
  • adj. with little or no preparation or forethought

Etymologies

French, from Latin in prōmptū, at hand : in, in; see in-2 + prōmptū, ablative of prōmptus, readiness, from past participle of prōmere, to bring forth; see prompt.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin imprōmptus ("not ready"), from im- + prōmptus ("ready, at hand"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They are resourceful people and impromptu is the mode of operation they most relish.

    5 To the River « Unknowing

  • Further away from the volcano, fears were rising that diseases could appear in impromptu refugee camps where scores of evacuees are now taking temporary shelter, unsure of when they might be able to return.

    Toll From Indonesia Tsunami, Volcano Reaches 441

  • "What I find most disturbing about these stories is the fact that some of the news media take it upon themselves to disclose vital national security programs, thereby making it more difficult for us to prevent future attacks against the American people," Mr. Cheney said, in impromptu remarks at a fund-raising luncheon for a Republican Congressional candidate in Chicago.

    June 2006

  • They gather - loud, bronzed, and disgustingly smooth-skinned - in impromptu youth rallies, blocking pavements, filling buses and generally annoying the hell out of the locals.

    Weekend Wastrelry

  • He proceeded to give his entire response to the sex abuse question in English, impromptu fashion.

    CNN Transcript Apr 15, 2008

  • In front of the little sundries store, Dona Lupe's, across from our house, people gather on the weekends to visit and sometimes engage in impromptu entertainment - I believe the tuba player participates actively in these little pick-up gigs.

    What about Joco?

  • I do not deal in impromptu speeches, and have but little belief in the impassioned orator who relies upon the stimulus of the moment; but I soon found that it would be better and wiser, and that, perhaps, I could more truly express my thought, if I were to write down what I meant, and what I meant to convey to you, upon the first part of this most important subject.

    Education and Empire Unity

  • The word impromptu is sufficiently self-explanatory, but it needs to be pointed out that this work of

    The Pianolist A Guide for Pianola Players

  • Nikki Haley flexed her political muscles Tuesday night when she called an impromptu press conference to insist that the Senate finish a bill that would create a new Department of Administration. ...

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • Nikki Haley flexed her political muscles Tuesday night when she called an impromptu press conference to insist that the Senate finish a bill that would create a new Department of Administration.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

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