Meaning of IMPULSE in English


I. ˈimˌpəls also -lts noun

Etymology: Latin impulsus, from impulsus, past participle of impellere to impel — more at impel


a. : the act of driving onward with sudden force : impulsion , thrust , drive , push

b. : the effect of an impelling force : motion produced by a sudden or momentary force : impetus

the impulse of the pumping by the heart is carried down so that a finger applied to the artery anywhere near the surface permits a counting of the pulse rate — Morris Fishbein

c. : a wave of excitation transmitted through certain tissues and especially nerve fibers and muscles that results in physiological activity or inhibition

d. : an electrical or mechanical action or force usually of brief duration

the impulses received by the radio set are … unimaginably small — A.C.Morrison

specifically : such an action or force actuating an operation (as in a computer)

can be started either by hand or by an air impulse — Swiss Industry & Trade


a. : a force so communicated as to produce motion suddenly or immediately

an impulse of the wind

(1) : the motive force given by the escape wheel in the driving train of a timepiece to the pendulum or balance

(2) : the muscular effort initiating a rhythmic dance movement

(3) : a short directed motion

written with one impulse of the pen — J.R.Gregg

b. : incentive

under the impulse of transportation profits — American Guide Series: Michigan

c. : an inspiration or motivation especially giving a usually new form or tendency

those who give the religious life a new impulse need disciples to organize the impulse before it runs to seed — Hallam Tennyson

his more successful stories derive from the same kind of impulse as his poetry — F.R.Leavis

he received from America fresh artistic impulses — Anatole Chujoy


a. : a sudden spontaneous inclination or an incitement of the mind or spirit arising either directly from feeling or from some outer influence and prompting some usually unpremeditated action

constitutionally inclined to resist impulse and to take long views — George Santayana

some uncontrollable impulse … may have driven the defendant to the commission of the murderous act — B.N.Cardozo

act on impulse

also : the force actuated by such a motive or propensity

a man who is driven chiefly by impulse

impulses of greed — Bertrand Russell

b. : a propensity or natural tendency usually other than rational

a man of good impulses

the sexual impulse

the fundamental impulse of self-expression — Havelock Ellis

the systematizing impulse , the restless passion for order of the Greeks — John Buchan

never approaches a new task save with the impulse to postpone it — H.A.Overstreet


a. : the product of the average value of a force and the time during which it acts being a quantity equal to the change in momentum produced by the force if the body acted on is free

b. : pulse 4a

Synonyms: see motive

II. “, ə̇mˈp- transitive verb

Etymology: Latin impulsus, past participle

1. : to give an impulse to

2. : to initiate an impulse in (a counter of a computer)

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.