Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Language: Latin
Origin: impulsus, from the past participle of impellere; IMPEL

impulse

noun
     
Related topics: Biology, Electricity, Electricity
im‧pulse
1 [uncountable and countable] a sudden strong desire to do something without thinking about whether it is a sensible thing to do [= urge]
impulse to do something
a sudden impulse to laugh
Marge's first impulse was to run.
Gerry couldn't resist the impulse to kiss her.
on impulse
On impulse, I picked up the phone and rang her.
Most beginners buy plants on impulse and then hope for the best.
impulse buying/shopping (=when you buy things that you had not planned to buy)
2 [countable] technicalHPE a short electrical signal that travels in one direction along a nerve or wire:
The eye converts light signals to nerve impulses.
3 [countable] a reason or aim that causes a particular kind of activity or behaviour:
It is the passions which provide the main impulse of music.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary