Etymology
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impulse (n.)

early 15c., "an act of impelling, a thrust, push," from Latin impulsus "a push against, pressure, shock," figuratively "incitement, instigation," past participle of impellere "to strike against, push against," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + pellere "to push, drive" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive"). Meaning "a stimulus in the mind to action, arising from some state or feeling" is first recorded 1640s. As an adjective, in reference to purchases made on impulse, 1955 (in impulse buyer).

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Definitions of impulse

impulse (n.)
an instinctive motive;
profound religious impulses
Synonyms: urge
impulse (n.)
a sudden desire;
he bought it on an impulse
Synonyms: caprice / whim
impulse (n.)
the electrical discharge that travels along a nerve fiber;
they demonstrated the transmission of impulses from the cortex to the hypothalamus
Synonyms: nerve impulse / nervous impulse / neural impulse
impulse (n.)
(electronics) a sharp transient wave in the normal electrical state (or a series of such transients);
Synonyms: pulsation / pulsing / pulse
impulse (n.)
the act of applying force suddenly;
the impulse knocked him over
Synonyms: impulsion / impetus
impulse (n.)
an impelling force or strength;
Synonyms: momentum
From wordnet.princeton.edu