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From Middle English, from Old French impetueux, from Late Latin impetuōsus (violent), from Latin impetus (attack, violence).



impetuous (comparative more impetuous, superlative most impetuous)

  1. Making arbitrary decisions, especially in an impulsive and forceful manner.
    • 1880, John Weeks Moore, Complete Encyclopaedia of Music, "Beethoven, Louis Van":
      But it was natural, that the impetuous, restless young artist should incline more to excess of strength than of delicacy in his playing.
  2. Characterized by sudden violence or vehemence.
    • 1794, Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, vol. II, chapter I:
      He stands, and views in the faint rays
      Far, far below, the torrent's rising surge,
      And listens to the wild impetuous roar
    • 1813, Jane Austen, chapter 4, in Pride and Prejudice, volume III:
      "Oh! where, where is my uncle?" cried Elizabeth, darting from her seat as she finished the letter, in eagerness to follow him, with-out losing a moment of the time so precious; but as she reached the door, it was opened by a servant, and Mr. Darcy appeared. Her pale face and impetuous manner made him start []
    • 1917 rev. 1925, Ezra Pound, "Canto I"
      Unsheathed the narrow sword,
      I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead ...



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