impulse

An impulse is a sudden force or desire — this could be an electrical impulse, or an impulse to get some pizza.

If you act on a sudden feeling or thought, you’re following an impulse. That's like a whim: an impulse isn't something you've given a lot of thought. Another meaning of impulse is an electrical charge or pulse. Electrical impulses are coursing through wires all through your house every day. Both kinds of impulses make things happen. The electrical impulse keeps the refrigerator going, and then you have an impulse to eat all the ice cream in the fridge.

Definitions of impulse
  1. noun
    an impelling force or strength
    synonyms: momentum
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    type of:
    force, forcefulness, strength
    physical energy or intensity
  2. noun
    the act of applying force suddenly
    “the impulse knocked him over”
    synonyms: impetus, impulsion
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    type of:
    drive, driving force, thrust
    the act of applying force to propel something
  3. noun
    an instinctive motive
    “profound religious impulses
    synonyms: urge
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    types:
    show 4 types...
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    abience
    (psychology) an urge to withdraw or avoid a situation or an object
    adience
    (psychology) an urge to accept or approach a situation or an object
    Thanatos, death instinct, death wish
    (psychoanalysis) an unconscious urge to die
    itchy feet, wanderlust
    very strong or irresistible impulse to travel
    type of:
    motivation, motive, need
    the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior
  4. noun
    a sudden desire
    “he bought it on an impulse
    synonyms: caprice, whim
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    type of:
    desire
    the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state
  5. noun
    (electronics) a sharp transient wave in the normal electrical state (or a series of such transients)
    synonyms: pulsation, pulse, pulsing
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    type of:
    undulation, wave
    (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
  6. noun
    the electrical discharge that travels along a nerve fiber
    “they demonstrated the transmission of impulses from the cortex to the hypothalamus”
    synonyms: nerve impulse, nervous impulse, neural impulse
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    types:
    action potential
    the local voltage change across the cell wall as a nerve impulse is transmitted
    type of:
    electrical discharge
    a discharge of electricity
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