actuated or swayed by emotional or involuntary impulses: an impulsive child.
having the power or effect of impelling; characterized by impulsion: impulsive forces.
inciting to action: the impulsive effects of a revolutionary idea.
Mechanics. (of forces) acting momentarily; not continuous.

1375–1425 for an earlier sense; 1545–55 for current senses; late Middle English impulsif < Medieval Latin impulsīvus. See impulse, -ive

impulsively, adverb
impulsiveness, impulsivity, noun
nonimpulsive, adjective
nonimpulsively, adverb
nonimpulsiveness, noun
unimpulsive, adjective
unimpulsively, adverb

compulsive, impulsive, impetuous (see synonym study at impetuous).

1. rash, quick, hasty. See impetuous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
impulsive (ɪmˈpʌlsɪv)
1.  characterized by actions based on sudden desires, whims, or inclinations rather than careful thought: an impulsive man
2.  based on emotional impulses or whims; spontaneous: an impulsive kiss
3.  forceful, inciting, or impelling
4.  (of physical forces) acting for a short time; not continuous
5.  (of a sound) brief, loud, and having a wide frequency range

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1550s, "having the property of impelling," originally in reference to medicines that reduce swelling or tumors, from M.L. impulsivus, from L. impuls-, pp. stem of impellere (see impel). Of persons, "rash, characterized by impulses," from 1847.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

impulsive im·pul·sive (ĭm-pŭl'sĭv)

  1. Inclined or tending to act on impulse rather than thought.

  2. Motivated by or resulting from impulse.

im·pul'sive·ness or im'pul·siv'i·ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Dropping them in frustration, he impulsively set off to follow his brother.
Such training focuses on correcting undesirable social habits, such as acting
  impulsively or being a bad listener.
He ate and drank impulsively in heavy meals at long intervals.
They act impulsively with acts of violence many times, because they don't know
  how to communicate.
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