spontaneous


spontaneous
spontaneous 1 Spontaneous, impulsive, instinctive, automatic, mechanical in application to persons or their movements, acts, and utterances mean acting or activated without apparent thought or deliberation.
Spontaneous can describe whatever is not affected or effected by an external or internal compulsion of the will and comes about so naturally that it seems unpremeditated as well as unprompted
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a spontaneous burst of applause

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a spontaneous expression of feeling

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the spontaneous wish to learn, which every normal child possesses . . . should be the driving-force in education— Russell

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the witticisms are never planted: they are spontaneous and over in a flash, like the quick striking of a match— Edmund Wilson

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Impulsive applies to someone or something actuated suddenly and impetuously under the stress of the feeling or spirit of the moment and seeming to be involuntary and forced by emotion rather than voluntary and natural
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an impulsive act of generosity

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my heart, impulsive and wayward— Longfellow

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he made an impulsive gesture, and opened his lips; but he dared not speak— Deland

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to promote the carefree, impulsive purchasing of new items— Packard

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Instinctive implies the guiding influence of instinct and a native and unreasoned prompting to actions characteristic of the species and presumably contributing to its life and well-being; when referred to human beings, the term is applied to actions, movements, or feelings which are instantaneous, unwilled, and often unconscious (as reflex movements, habitual actions, or specific responses to stimuli)
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the most prolonged and difficult operations of our minds may yet become instantaneous, or, as we call it, instinctiveShaw

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her attitude was not a matter of reason. It was as instinctive as the humping-up of a cat at a dog— Wouk

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Automatic and mechanical apply to what at least to outward appearances seems to engage neither the mind nor the emotions and to suggest the operation of a machine.
But automatic, like instinctive, stresses promptness in the response. It differs from instinctive, however, in implying adaptability to changing circumstances and readiness to react or to respond immediately and unvaryingly each time a given situation or stimulus recurs
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the responses of a well- trained soldier to commands are automatic

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he pulled the hall door open, and he held it, in automatic and habitual caution, scarcely ajar— Boyle

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in fact, voting is so nearly automatic that a cynic might ask why we have election campaigns at all— Bliven b. 1889

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Mechanical, on the other hand, stresses the lifeless and, often, the perfunctory character of the response. It does not, as automatic often does, suggest perfect discipline; rather, it suggests a mind dulled by repetition of the act, motion, or operation and capable only of routine performance
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he would deal you out facts in a dry mechanical way as if reading them in a book— Hudson

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engaged in futile and mechanical lovemaking, compulsive drinking, and considerations of suicide— Aldridge

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Analogous words: *extemporaneous, extempore, impromptu, improvised, offhand, unpremeditated: *natural, simple, ingenuous, unsophisticated

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spontaneous — means a self generated event, typically requiring no outside influence or help.The word spontaneous may also refer to:* Spontaneous abortion * Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis * Spontaneous combustion * Spontaneous emission * Spontaneous fission …   Wikipedia

  • Spontaneous — Spon*ta ne*ous (sp[o^]n*t[=a] n[ e]*[u^]s), a. [L. spontaneus, fr. sponte of free will, voluntarily.] 1. Proceeding from natural feeling, temperament, or disposition, or from a native internal proneness, readiness, or tendency, without… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spontaneous — I adjective discretional, discretionary, elective, extemporal, extemporaneous, extemporary, extempore, free, free willed, impetuous, impromptu, improvisatorial, improvised, impulsive, indeliberate, independent, natural, optional, rash, self… …   Law dictionary

  • spontaneous — 1650s, from L.L. spontaneus willing, of one s free will, from L. (sua) sponte of one s own accord, willingly; of unknown origin. Related: Spontaneously. Earliest use is of persons and characters. Spontaneous combustion first attested 1795.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • spontaneous — [spän tā′nē əs] adj. [LL spontaneus < L sponte, of free will < IE base * (s)pen(d) , to pull > SPIN] 1. acting in accordance with or resulting from a natural feeling, impulse, or tendency, without any constraint, effort, or premeditation …   English World dictionary

  • spontaneous — [adj] impulsive, willing ad lib*, automatic, break loose, casual, down, extemporaneous, extempore, free, free spirited, from the hip*, impetuous, impromptu, improvised, inevitable, instinctive, involuntary, irresistible, natural, offhand, off the …   New thesaurus

  • spontaneous — ► ADJECTIVE 1) performed or occurring as a result of an unpremeditated impulse and without external stimulus. 2) open, natural, and uninhibited. 3) (of a process or event) occurring without apparent external cause. 4) Biology (of movement or… …   English terms dictionary

  • spontaneous — 01. The crowd burst into [spontaneous] applause when the Queen appeared on the balcony. 02. Thousands of people [spontaneously] poured into the streets of the capital to celebrate after the victory of the national soccer team in the World Cup. 03 …   Grammatical examples in English

  • spontaneous — adjective 1) a spontaneous display of affection Syn: unplanned, unpremeditated, unrehearsed, impulsive, impetuous, unstudied, impromptu, spur of the moment, extempore, extemporaneous; unforced, voluntary, unconstrained, unprompted, unbidden,… …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • spontaneous — [[t]spɒnte͟ɪniəs[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED Spontaneous acts are not planned or arranged, but are done because someone suddenly wants to do them. Diana s house was crowded with happy people whose spontaneous outbursts of song were accompanied by lively… …   English dictionary


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