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impetus

[im-pi-tuh s] /ˈɪm pɪ təs/
noun, plural impetuses.
1.
a moving force; impulse; stimulus:
The grant for building the opera house gave impetus to the city's cultural life.
2.
(broadly) the momentum of a moving body, especially with reference to the cause of motion.
Origin of impetus
1650-1660
1650-60; < Latin: an attack, literally, a rushing into, perhaps by haplology from *impetitus (though the expected form would be *impetītus; see appetite), equivalent to impetī-, variant stem of impetere to attack (im- im-1 + petere to make for, assault) + -tus suffix of v. action
Can be confused
impetus, impotence, sterility.
Synonyms
1. stimulation, spur, boost.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for impetus

impetus

/ˈɪmpɪtəs/
noun (pl) -tuses
1.
an impelling movement or force; incentive or impulse; stimulus
2.
(physics) the force that sets a body in motion or that tends to resist changes in a body's motion
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: attack, from impetere to assail, from im- (in) + petere to make for, seek out
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for impetus
n.

early 15c., impetous "rapid movement, rush;" 1640s, with modern spelling, "force with which a body moves, driving force," from Latin impetus "attack, assault, onset, impulse, violence, vigor, force, passion," related to impetere "to attack," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + petere "aim for, rush at" (see petition (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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