9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[spon-tey-nee-uh s] /spɒnˈteɪ ni əs/
coming or resulting from a natural impulse or tendency; without effort or premeditation; natural and unconstrained; unplanned:
a spontaneous burst of applause.
(of a person) given to acting upon sudden impulses.
(of natural phenomena) arising from internal forces or causes; independent of external agencies; self-acting.
growing naturally or without cultivation, as plants and fruits; indigenous.
produced by natural process.
Origin of spontaneous
1650-60; < Late Latin spontāneus, equivalent to Latin spont(e) willingly + -āneus (-ān(us) -an + -eus -eous)
Related forms
spontaneously, adverb
spontaneousness, noun
nonspontaneous, adjective
nonspontaneously, adverb
nonspontaneousness, noun
semispontaneous, adjective
semispontaneously, adverb
semispontaneousness, noun
subspontaneous, adjective
subspontaneously, adverb
subspontaneousness, noun
unspontaneous, adjective
unspontaneously, adverb
unspontaneousness, noun
1. unpremeditated, free. See automatic, voluntary.
1. premeditated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spontaneous
  • But mostly my choices were spontaneous and impulsive.
  • The project was done to produce an organic and spontaneous result within a certain framework.
  • Be well enough prepared that you can allow yourself to be spontaneous.
  • Being a scientist makes spontaneous blogging on some topics problematic.
  • spontaneous humor can relieve tension and be helpful to you, but you're not auditioning to star at a comedy club.
  • It is the spontaneous expression of instant thought-impermanent beyond even the ephemera of daily journalism.
  • spontaneous order probably won't prevail in the aftermath of such a change.
  • The city lacks any focal point of the sort that might catalyze a spontaneous public gathering.
  • Since that day medical colleges have multiplied without restraint, now by fission, now by sheer spontaneous generation.
  • But when things become psychologically too bewildering or frustrating for him, he may revert to spontaneous play.
British Dictionary definitions for spontaneous


occurring, produced, or performed through natural processes without external influence: spontaneous movement
arising from an unforced personal impulse; voluntary; unpremeditated: a spontaneous comment
(of plants) growing naturally; indigenous
Derived Forms
spontaneously, adverb
spontaneousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin spontāneus, from Latin sponte voluntarily
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 spontaneous

1650s, from Late Latin spontaneus "willing, of one's free will," from Latin (sua) sponte "of one's own accord, willingly;" of unknown origin. Related: Spontaneously. Earliest use is of persons and characters. Spontaneous combustion first attested 1795. Spontaneous generation (the phrase, not the event) attested from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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