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(pronounced im-pech-oo-us; “oo” pronounced as in “boot” and not as in “book”)  adjective


acting or done quickly or suddenly with very little thought or care; characterized by an impulsiveness that is forceful or intensely emotional; rash; thoughtless; extremely impatient.

Other Forms

Impetuosity (pronounced im-pech-oo-os-ih-tee; “oo” same as above) noun

Main Example

  • The recent sale of “Salvator Mundi,” a painting supposedly by Leonardo da Vinci--some experts believe his assistants may have contributed to the work very substantially--grabbed headlines around the world. After all, the final price--$450 million--was exactly two and a half times the previous record for the most expensive painting sold at an auction. Now, note that before the bidding began at Christie’s, “Salvator Mundi” was expected to fetch just around $100 million. So, the near-unanimous consensus among art dealers and critics: “No work of art is worth half a billion dollars, esp. not one with doubtful provenance...” and “the ridiculously high price paid for that supposed-Leonardo was a result of an impetuous bid by an anonymous Russian oligarch who presumably has billions to spare.”

Workplace Examples

  • I am not in favor of Toni being made manager of the new international marketing unit. Unlike her two rivals for that job, she is rash and impulsive, often making important decisions with the minimum of thought. Basically, Toni is much too impetuous a person for such a crucial position.
  • After the PMI conference, which ended on a Thursday, I had almost three full days to enjoy the great city of Chicago, but I didn’t make the most of them--my impulsiveness got in the way. You see, I was so eager to check out some of the museums, I spent Friday--a beautiful sunny day--inside the Art Institute and the Shedd Aquarium, leaving the architecture tour and other sightseeing for the weekend which turned out to be cold and wet. My planning should have been quite the reverse. In my impetuosity, I didn’t bother to check the weather forecast.

Other Examples

  • a co-worker saying to you in private: “You are right, it was rash of me to make such a literal interpretation of the company’s open door policy and go straight to the executive VP’s office with my complaints without first trying to iron out things with one of the managers. It backfired. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have acted so impetuously.”
  • someone who is steady and calm and not given to impetuous decision-making
  • a young and ambitious politician’s impetuous bid for the White House faltering within weeks of launching his campaign because the candidate was simply not ready for the rigors of the campaign trail
  • during the high-profile public feud between President Trump and Republican Senator Bob Corker this past October, the latter alleging that Trump, thanks to his impetuous temperament, “is setting the country on the path to WWIII”
  • 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s new de facto leader, has triggered a series of unprecedented and controversial changes in recent months. Supporters claim that bin Salman’s actions will transform and modernize the Saudi economy and culture. His detractors fault the inexperienced young leader for behaving impetuously--they point to, among other things, his recent moves that have sharply escalated tensions with Qatar and Iran.

© 2018 V.J. Singal
No part of this may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.

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