"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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 instinctual
  • It is normal for me to live with people who speak a different language than me, this is a more instinctual way of living.
  • Nevertheless, snakes produce one of the strongest instinctual fear responses.
  • As you might expect, horses are unexceptional learners, relying heavily on instinctual responses.
  • In a startling way she succeeds--not by opposing her instinctual cynicism but by accepting it.
  • To me, they represent an instinctual aspect of learning behavior.
  • Human morality is instinctual and fits into the evolutionary paradigm.
  • Yellowtail had entered the first instinctual fear-response state, the condition of freezing known as attentive immobility.
  • As the experiments show, animals are by no means robots driven solely by instinctual responses.
  • The power of story is almost part of our instinctual make-up.
  • We learn to counter this instinctual response to run by practicing doing the safe thing.
British Dictionary definitions for instinctual


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 instinctual

1841, from instinct (Latin instinctus) + -al (1). Related: Instinctually.



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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