Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “impulse”

impulse

noun uk   /ˈɪm.pʌls/ us  

impulse noun (WISH)

C2 [C + to infinitive] a sudden strong wish to do something: I had this sudden impulse to shout out "Rubbish!" in the middle of her speech. on (an) impulse C2 because you suddenly want to, although you haven't planned to: "I didn't know you were looking for some new shoes." "Oh, I wasn't - I just bought them on impulse."

impulse noun (SIGNAL)

[C] a short electrical, radio, or light signal that carries information or instructions between the parts of a system: an electrical/nerve impulse

impulse noun (REASON)

[C usually singular] formal something that is the force behind or reason for something else: a creative/commercial impulse
(Definition of impulse from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of impulse?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “impulse” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

mutant

an organism that is different from others of its type because of a permanent change in its genes

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

Read More 

high-frequency trading noun

October 27, 2014
a type of stock market trading that uses very complex technology to trade extremely quickly, often making tiny profits which nevertheless add up to substantial sums Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of

Read More