Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A motivating force or tendency.
  • noun Electronics A surge of electrical power in one direction.
  • noun Physics The product obtained by multiplying the average value of a force by the time during which it acts. The impulse equals the change in momentum produced by the force in this time interval.
  • noun Physiology The electrochemical transmission of a signal along a nerve fiber that produces an excitatory or inhibitory response at a target tissue, such as a muscle or another nerve.
  • adjective Characterized by impulsiveness or acting on impulse.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To give an impulse to; incite; instigate.
  • noun Force communicated suddenly; the effect of an impelling force; a thrust; a push.
  • noun Specifically In mech.: An infinite force or action enduring for an infinitely short time, so as to produce a finite momentum.
  • noun The resultant of all such forces acting on a body at any instant, resolved into a couple and a force along the axis of that couple.
  • noun The momentum produced by a force in any time.
  • noun A stimulation of the mind to action; the impelling force of appetite, desire, aversion, or other emotion; especially, a sudden disposition to perform some act which is not the result of reflection; sudden determination.
  • noun Any communication of force; any compelling action; instigation.
  • noun A mental impression; an idea.
  • noun Shock; onset.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To impel; to incite.
  • noun The act of impelling, or driving onward with sudden force; impulsion; especially, force so communicated as to produced motion suddenly, or immediately.
  • noun The effect of an impelling force; motion produced by a sudden or momentary force.
  • noun (Mech.) The action of a force during a very small interval of time; the effect of such action.
  • noun A mental force which simply and directly urges to action; hasty inclination; sudden motive; momentary or transient influence of appetite or passion; propension; incitement

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A thrust; a push; a sudden force that impels.
  • noun A wish or urge, particularly a sudden one prompting action.
  • noun physics The integral of force over time.
  • verb obsolete To impel; to incite.

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

  • noun the electrical discharge that travels along a nerve fiber
  • noun an impelling force or strength
  • noun an instinctive motive
  • noun (electronics) a sharp transient wave in the normal electrical state (or a series of such transients)
  • noun the act of applying force suddenly
  • noun a sudden desire

Etymologies

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

[Latin impulsus, from past participle of impellere, to impel; see impel.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin impulsus.

Examples

  • 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.

    The Sexual Life of the Child

  • 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.

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » Snippets

  • I do have to consciously stop myself from even asking, but the impulse is always there.

    Hair Petting

  • What this means is that your eating isn't eternally out of control; it's out of control only at certain times, during what I call impulse moments.

    Pragmatic Compendium

  • What this means is that your eating isn't eternally out of control; it's out of control only at certain times, during what I call impulse moments.

    Pragmatic Compendium

  • What this means is that your eating isn't eternally out of control; it's out of control only at certain times, during what I call impulse moments.

    Pragmatic Compendium

  • SIEGEL: Because our impulse is to want to see that zero balance on some loan, even if it's a relatively cheap loan that is doing us less harm than another loan.

    Paying Off Loans: Strategies Of The 'Irrational' Human

  • If I think of something short and pithy, my first impulse is to post a simple Twitter tweet rather than do a long weblog entry.

    2009 May : Scrubbles.net

  • If I think of something short and pithy, my first impulse is to post a simple Twitter tweet rather than do a long weblog entry.

    Twitter Bird : Scrubbles.net

  • Not acting on our every impulse is supposedly what makes us different from animals. crooked politics

    Rielle Hunter reveals new details

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