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1. Acting or done quickly with little or inadequate thought.
2. Having or marked by violent force: impetuous, heaving waves.

[Middle English, violent, from Old French impetueux, from Late Latin impetuōsus, from Latin impetus, impetus; see impetus.]

im·pet′u·ous·ly adv.
im·pet′u·ous·ness n.
Synonyms: impetuous, hasty, headlong, precipitate
These adjectives describe abruptness or lack of deliberation. Impetuous suggests forceful impulsiveness or impatience: "[Martin Luther King] feared that an ill-prepared, impetuous demonstration would endanger ... the marchers" (Nick Kotz).
Hasty and headlong both stress hurried, often reckless action: "Hasty marriage seldom proveth well" (Shakespeare)."In his headlong flight down the circular staircase, ... [he] had pitched forward violently ... and probably broken his neck" (Mary Roberts Rinehart).
Precipitate suggests impulsiveness and lack of due reflection: "All my mistakes in life had flowed from that precipitate departure of mine" (Philip Roth).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



early days Premature, overhasty; too early or soon; jumping the gun. In use since the 16th century, this British expression has a self-evident meaning but may sound awkward to American ears.

As regards the current year, it is early days to express any considered opinion, but trading conditions are bad. (Times, December 23, 1957)

from the hip Impulsively, impetuously, without preparation or thought; spontaneously, extempore. This expression is an abbreviated version of to shoot from the hip, literally to fire a handgun from the hip immediately upon drawing it from the holster and without taking formal aim.

… second thoughts about letting their man shoot from the hip quite so much as his nature prompted him to. (R. L. Maullin as quoted in Webster’s 6,000)

go off at half-cock To start prematurely; to leave unprepared; to act rashly, impetuously, or ill-advisedly; also, go off half-cocked. In this expression, half-cock refers to a position of a gun’s hammer which renders the weapon inoperable; thus, one is unprepared if the gun happens to go off at half-cock. Figuratively, the phrase implies acting on a whim with no preparatory measures.

Poor Doctor Jim! What disasters he brought down upon his country and his company by going off at half-cock. (Westminster Gazette, January, 1896)

Half-cocked is used adjectivally to mean ‘ill-prepared, ill-considered’ and by extension ‘foolish, silly, inane.’

head over heels See INTENSITY.

jump the gun To begin prematurely; to start early with the prospect of gaining an advantage. This expression’s origin lies in the false starts made by runners before the firing of the pistol that signals the race’s start. The phrase maintains common usage in the United States and Great Britain.

The Prime Minister has jumped the gun by announcing that it will take the form of government advances to building societies. (Economist, November, 1958)

on the spur of the moment See SPONTANEITY.

pell-mell In a recklessly hurried fashion; in a confused or disordered manner. This expression is derived from the medieval French sport pelle-melle, in which the object was to knock a ball through a hoop suspended at the end of an alley. Known as pall-mall in England, this sport involved much reckless, headlong rushing of the players into the alley, inspiring the coinage of the term pell-mell to describe this frenzied scurrying.

We were an absurd party of zealots, rushing pell-mell upon the floes with vastly more energy than discretion. (Elisha Kane, The U.S. Grinnell [First] Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, 1853)

take the ball before the bound See ALERTNESS.

trigger-happy Impetuous, reckless, rash, irresponsible; overanxious, over-eager; overly critical, quick to point out mistakes and faults in others. This term originally referred to an overeager gunman just itching to pull the trigger of his gun and cut somebody down. The term has since become generalized and is now applied to anyone inclined to hasty or ill-advised actions.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.impetuousness - rash impulsiveness
impulsiveness - the trait of acting suddenly on impulse without reflection
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
His "son and heir" Polemarchus has the frankness and impetuousness of youth; he is for detaining Socrates by force in the opening scene, and will not "let him off" on the subject of women and children.
On the instant he felt that marvelous return of the impetuousness, the intense excitement, the increasing expectancy of youth.
"I guess I'll be wanted," the pawnbroker observed, as he jerked open his shirt, tearing out the four buttons in his impetuousness and showing a Colt's .44 automatic, strapped in its holster against the bare skin of his side under his left arm, the butt of the weapon most readily accessible to any hasty dip of his right hand.
His record is that of impetuousness. However, some analysts have reached the conclusion that Trump, in dealing with Iran, was pursuing an approach that looks at relations with that country from a time perspective that is long, stretching over several years.
There is another aspect to the construction of the cultural perception on old age put forth in the context above, namely its opposition to young age in terms of wisdom versus impetuousness. Ram's words put an end to the quarrel between young Jennifer and young Sanjay, showing how the elderly are characterized by temperance which may slow down the tumult and/or carelessness of youth.
Generally, the familiar characters (especially to Trekkers/fans of the series) are injected with new life, especially through the depiction of the difference between the passion and impetuousness of the humans and the cold Vulcan logic of the first officer.
Summary: There is a sweet-spot between impulse and inaction, between impetuousness and overthinking, between being rash and bring wishy-washy.
Sometimes, in our impetuousness, we would go to the photographer's studio and, with his permission, fish the prints out of the water bath in which they would still be immersed.
The Ibrox outfit claim the "underlying issues" noted in their original statement referred to Collum's impetuousness and general competence.
The young prince had already earned a very negative reputation in the Middle East and internationally for his extreme recklessness and impetuousness. class="MsoNormalQATAR BLOCKADE class="MsoNormalHe has been behind some pretty dubious ventures ever since his dad elevated him as heir-apparent, bypassing more senior and mature royals.
While the last two are mildly censorious of youth's impetuousness or negligence of traditions [340], all three illustrate Plaatje's belief in upholding one's cultural identity and valuing one's true being by maintaining national pride.