- 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.
impetus definition by Webster's New World
- 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: Classical Latin ; from impetere, to rush upon ; from in-, in plush petere, to rush at: see feather
impetus definition by American Heritage Dictionary
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.