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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[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 spontaneousness
Historical Examples
  • He went to Nature for tonic, not for fact; he sought only truth and freedom and spontaneousness of soul.

  • It would take away all spontaneousness from my conversation.

    Dodo Wonders E. F. Benson
  • There is a spontaneousness about them we search for in vain in his work in oil and pastel.

    Percy Moore Turner
  • Systematism is the death of spontaneousness, and spontaneousness is the very soul of art.

    Piano Playing Josef Hofmann
  • We hear that voice again in the spontaneousness and versatility of his style.

  • There are three lines along which one may seek for evidence of the spontaneousness of growth.

  • Something of this spontaneousness and finality belonged to the character of Bret Harte.

    The Life of Bret Harte Henry Childs Merwin
  • But, secondly, besides this spontaneousness there is this other great characteristic of Growth—Mysteriousness.

  • Make him handsome, for beauty is to the body what spontaneousness is to the mind, a sort of physical spontaneousness.

  • Our success and well-being depend upon the closeness and spontaneousness of the relation.

    The Breath of Life John Burroughs
British Dictionary definitions for spontaneousness


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 spontaneousness



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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