9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[in-stingk-tiv] /ɪnˈstɪŋk tɪv/
of, relating to, or of the nature of instinct.
prompted by or resulting from or as if from instinct; natural; unlearned:
an instinctive will to survive.
Also, instinctual
[in-stingk-choo-uh l] /ɪnˈstɪŋk tʃu əl/ (Show IPA)
Origin of instinctive
1640-50; instinct1 + -ive
Related forms
instinctively, instinctually, adverb
half-instinctive, adjective
half-instinctively, adverb
noninstinctive, adjective
noninstinctively, adverb
noninstinctual, adjective
noninstinctually, adverb
semi-instinctive, adjective
semi-instinctively, adverb
uninstinctive, adjective
uninstinctively, adverb
uninstinctiveness, noun
2. spontaneous, intuitive, unpremeditated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for instinctive
  • It has also little control over its body, and all its movements are automatic or instinctive.
  • instinctive behavior is an unlearned, inborn tendency to behave in a way characteristic of a species, ie migration.
  • The instinctive reaction is to put in a coin and wait for the head and arms to start moving.
  • They then conducted a series of experiments on instinctive and learned fear.
  • For the serious photographer, f-stops and shutter speeds were definitely not instinctive.
  • These are conscious actions and decisions made to improve our behavior and decision making which then appears to be instinctive.
  • The rumor emanating from there reflected the instinctive dread aroused by such monstrous innovation.
  • Back then it was pretty astounding to have something feel so instinctive.
  • People's instinctive reaction was to start hoarding.
  • My point is that based on what the dog is and was created for, these are instinctive traits.
British Dictionary definitions for instinctive


of, relating to, or resulting from instinct
conditioned so as to appear innate: an instinctive movement in driving
Derived Forms
instinctively, instinctually, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for instinctive

1610s (implied in instinctively), from Latin instinct-, past participle stem of instinguere (see instinct) + -ive. Related: Instinctiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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