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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)
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