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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce instinctive (audio)

Dictionary definition of instinctive

Pertaining to actions, behaviors, or responses that are innate, intuitive, or natural, rather than learned or consciously thought out.
"The bird's instinctive migration patterns ensured its survival during the changing seasons."

Detailed meaning of instinctive

When something is described as instinctive, it suggests that it arises from a deep-seated, primal, or automatic impulse that is ingrained within an individual or a species. Instinctive behaviors are often driven by instinct, a biologically programmed tendency to act or react in certain ways in response to specific stimuli. These actions are typically performed without conscious thought or deliberation, arising from a deep internalized knowledge or genetic predisposition. Instinctive reactions can vary across species, reflecting survival mechanisms or specialized adaptations. In humans, instinctive behaviors may manifest as basic survival instincts, such as fight or flight responses, or as natural inclinations towards certain activities or preferences. The adjective "instinctive" underscores the inherent nature of behaviors or responses, highlighting their automatic and intuitive character.

Example sentences containing instinctive

1. The baby's instinctive reflex was to grasp onto the caregiver's finger.
2. The athlete's instinctive reaction allowed them to dodge the incoming ball effortlessly.
3. Her instinctive sense of direction guided her through the unfamiliar forest.
4. The dog's instinctive loyalty compelled it to protect its owner from any potential threat.
5. He had an instinctive talent for playing the piano, effortlessly creating beautiful melodies.
6. The child's instinctive curiosity led them to explore every nook and cranny of the room.

History and etymology of instinctive

The adjective 'instinctive' is derived from the noun 'instinct,' which in turn has its etymological roots in the Latin word 'instinctus.' 'Instinctus' is the past participle of 'instinguere,' a word formed from 'in,' meaning 'toward,' and 'stinguere,' meaning 'to prick' or 'to goad.' Originally, 'instinctus' referred to the inner prompting or impulse that drives animals to certain actions or behaviors. As language evolved, the term 'instinctive' emerged to describe actions, behaviors, or responses that are innate, intuitive, or natural, rather than learned or consciously thought out. Thus, etymologically, 'instinctive' conveys the idea of behaviors guided by an inner drive, as if prodded or goaded by an intrinsic force, and it emphasizes the inherent, unlearned nature of such actions.

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Further usage examples of instinctive

1. The mother's instinctive nurturing instincts kicked in as she cradled her newborn baby.
2. The spider's instinctive web-building skills were passed down through generations.
3. The instinctive fear of heights prevented her from looking down while standing on the edge.
4. His instinctive empathy allowed him to easily connect with and understand others' emotions.
5. The actor's instinctive timing and delivery brought humor to every line in the play.
6. Her instinctive reaction to danger was to freeze in place.
7. Driving became instinctive after years of practice.
8. His instinctive kindness made him a beloved friend to all.
9. Instinctive reflexes kicked in as he caught the falling object.
10. The athlete's movements were instinctive, honed through countless hours of training.
11. The artist's use of color was instinctive and captivating.
12. Instinctive curiosity led her to explore the mysterious old house.
13. Instinctive trust in her intuition guided her decision-making.
14. The toddler's instinctive laughter brightened the room.
15. His instinctive sense of direction never led him astray.
16. The survivalist relied on instinctive knowledge of the wilderness.
17. Her instinctive response to stress was to take a deep breath.
18. Instinctive camaraderie formed among the stranded travelers.
19. The detective's instinctive deduction cracked the case wide open.
20. Instinctive empathy drove him to help those in need.
21. The chef's instinctive flair for flavors made every dish exceptional.
22. Instinctive patterns emerged in the chaos of the dance floor.
23. His instinctive knack for fixing things saved the day.
24. Instinctive cooperation ensured the team's success.
25. The writer's instinctive storytelling captivated readers worldwide.

TOEFL 13, Personality and Character Traits, High School 10


innate, learned, deliberate, considered



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