1. of, relating to, or characterized by sudden or rash action, emotion, etc.; impulsive: an impetuous decision; an impetuous person.
  2. having great impetus; moving with great force; violent: the impetuous winds.


  1. liable to act without consideration; rash; impulsive
  2. resulting from or characterized by rashness or haste
  3. poetic moving with great force or violence; rushingthe impetuous stream hurtled down the valley

late 14c., “hot-tempered, fierce,” from Old French impetuos (13c.) and directly from Late Latin impetuosus “impetuous, violent,” from Latin impetus “attack” (see impetus). Related: Impetuously; impetuousness.

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