English edit

Etymology edit

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

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /imˈpɛt͡ʃuəs/
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Adjective edit

impetuous (comparative more impetuous, superlative most impetuous)

  1. Making arbitrary decisions, especially in an impulsive and forceful manner.
    • 1880, John Weeks Moore, “Beethoven, Louis Van”, in Complete Encyclopaedia of Music:
      But it was natural, that the impetuous, restless young artist should incline more to excess of strength than of delicacy in his playing.
    • 1854, Arthur Pendennis [pseudonym; William Makepeace Thackeray], The Newcomes: Memoirs of a Most Respectable Family, volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], →OCLC:
      The shrewd kind confidant used gently to hint the sad fact to the impetuous hero of this piece. The impetuous hero knew this quite well.
    • 2003 March 16, Terry Jones, “Poor Tony Blair wakes up”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      The prime minister thought he could sagely steer his impetuous American friends away from actions they would later regret. It turns out they were just playing him for a patsy[.]
    • 2023 September 24, Sarah Frier, “We Don’t Need Another Antihero”, in The Atlantic[2]:
      How these developments might come about and what they will mean for humanity seems far more important to probe than Isaacson’s preferred focus on explaining Musk’s abusive, erratic, impetuous behavior.
  2. Characterized by sudden violence or vehemence.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book II, Canto IX”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, stanza 14, page 311:
      For with ſuch puiſſance and impetuous maine / Thoſe Champions broke on them, that forſt the fly, / Like ſcattered Sheepe, whenas the Shepherds ſwaine / A Lyon and a Tigre doth eſpye, / With greedy pace forth ruſhing from the foreſt nye.
    • 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
    • 1798, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, “[Maria: or, The] Wrongs of Woman”, in W[illiam] Godwin, editor, Posthumous Works of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. [], London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, []; and G[eorge,] G[eorge] and J[ohn] Robinson, [], →OCLC:
      After being two days the prey of impetuous, varying emotions, Maria began to reflect more calmly on her present situation, for she had actually been rendered incapable of sober reflection, by the discovery of the act of atrocity of which she was the victim.
    • 1813 January 27, [Jane Austen], chapter 4, in Pride and Prejudice: [], volume III, London: [] [George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC:
      "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 []
    • 1820, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe; a Romance. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), Edinburgh: [] Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co. [], →OCLC:
      Rough and impetuous as a wild boar, where only earthly force was to be apprehended, he had all the characteristic terrors of a Saxon respecting fawns, forest-fiends, white women, and the whole of the superstitions which his ancestors had brought with them from the wilds of Germany.
    • 1880, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], chapter VI, in A Tramp Abroad; [], Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company; London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      When they were placed in position they thought it was time to begin—and then did begin, too, and with a most impetuous energy, without waiting for anybody to give the word.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 250:
      Having made a few vain attempts at engrossing my attention in my book, I was obliged to let myself be carried away by the impetuous torrent of the squire's eloquence.
    • 1917 rev. 1925, Ezra Pound, "Canto I"
      Unsheathed the narrow sword,
      I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead []

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

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