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.

Primary Meanings of impulse

1.
n
an impelling force or strength
2.
n
(electronics) a sharp transient wave in the normal electrical state (or a series of such transients)
3.
n
the electrical discharge that travels along a nerve fiber
Full Definitions of impulse
1

n an impelling force or strength

Synonyms:
momentum
Type of:
force, forcefulness, strength
physical energy or intensity

n the act of applying force suddenly

“the impulse knocked him over”
Synonyms:
impetus, impulsion
Type of:
drive, driving force, thrust
the act of applying force to propel something

n an instinctive motive

“profound religious impulses
Synonyms:
urge
Types:
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
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

n a sudden desire

“he bought it on an impulse
Synonyms:
caprice, whim
Type of:
desire
the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state
2

n (electronics) a sharp transient wave in the normal electrical state (or a series of such transients)

Synonyms:
pulsation, pulse, pulsing
Type of:
undulation, wave
(physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
3

n 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
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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