Dictionary > Impulse


1. The act of impelling, or driving onward with sudden force; impulsion; especially, force so communicated as to produced motion suddenly, or immediately. All spontaneous animal motion is performed by mechanical impulse. (s. Clarke)
2. The effect of an impelling force; motion produced by a sudden or momentary force.
3. (Science: mechanics) The action of a force during a very small interval of time; the effect of such action; as, the impulse of a sudden blow upon a hard elastic body.
4. A mental force which simply and directly urges to action; hasty inclination; sudden motive; momentary or transient influence of appetite or passion; propension; incitement; as, a man of good impulses; passion often gives a violent impulse to the will. These were my natural impulses for the undertaking. (Dryden)
Synonym: force, incentive, influence, motive, feeling, incitement, instigation.
Origin: L. Impulsus, fr. Impellere. See Impel.
The electrical discharge that travels along a nerve fiber; ”they demonstrated the transmission of impulses from the cortex to the hypothalamus.

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