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early 15c., "an act of impelling, a thrust, push," from Latin impulsus "a push against, pressure, shock," also "incitement, instigation, impulse," past participle of impellere (see impel). Meaning "stimulus in the mind arising from some state or feeling" first recorded 1640s.
impulse im·pulse (ĭm'pŭls')
A sudden pushing or driving force.
A sudden wish or urge that prompts an unpremeditated act or feeling; an abrupt inclination.
The electrochemical transmission of a signal along a nerve fiber that produces an excitatory or inhibitory response at a target tissue.