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[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 instinctively
  • Most persons who have known and liked horses, instinctively say the horse who, and the horse he or she.
  • She gave me a warm, much-needed hug, and my children instinctively did the same.
  • They instinctively put on different faces, clothes or voices as the situation requires.
  • We instinctively know to wait for a table, sit down, look at the menu and then order our food.
  • If you keep your gaze fixed, others will instinctively get out of the way.
  • The reader reacts instinctively against this thought.
  • It would last longer, come in waves, and people would instinctively shun each other to avoid the spread of the virus.
  • Humans didn't evolve to be able to instinctively evaluate long-term threats.
  • People instinctively marginalize everything else or, in some cases, ignore it altogether.
  • They instinctively oppose electoral reform because they believe they are the natural party of government.
British Dictionary definitions for instinctively


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 instinctively



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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