- The definition of impetus is the force that makes something happen or that makes a body move.
If someone calls you stupid and this prompts you to go back to college, this comment was an example of theimpetus you needed to go back to college.
- the force with which a body moves against resistance, resulting from its mass and the velocity at which it is set in motion
- anything that stimulates activity; driving force or motive; incentive; impulse
Origin: L from impetere, to rush upon from in-, inch(es) plush petere, to rush at: see feather
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. im·pe·tus·es
- An impelling force; an impulse.
- The force or energy associated with a moving body.
- a. Something that incites; a stimulus.b. Increased activity in response to a stimulus: The approaching deadline gave impetus to the investigation.
Origin: Middle English impetous, from Latin impetus, from impetere, to attack : in-, against; see in-2 + petere, to go towards, seek; see pet- in Indo-European roots.