I am looking for a single-word verb that means "acting impulsively". For example,

"You can never tell what Harley is going to do. She always [acts impulsively] without thinking things through."

I'd like it to be as generic as possible. "splurge" captures the idea I'm looking for, but the connotations of money don't work for me.

  • I think the proverb "look before you leap" and related phrases like "leap without looking" are familiar enough that you could probably just use leaps here and your meaning would be clear, even if you change looking to thinking things through.
    – 1006a
    Nov 21, 2016 at 4:46
  • whats wrong with "acts"?
    – user175542
    Nov 22, 2016 at 1:00

6 Answers 6


There are a lot of synonyms of impetuous viz - : impulsive, rash, hasty, overhasty, reckless, heedless, foolhardy, incautious, imprudent, injudicious, ill-conceived, ill-considered, unplanned, unreasoned, unthought-out, unthinking; spontaneous, impromptu, spur-of-the-moment, precipitate, precipitous, headlong, hurried, rushed.

None of them are verbs, but perhaps you can derive a verb from one of them - such as she always rushes in without thinking.


"You can never tell what Harley is going to do. She always jumps in without thinking things through."

jump (in)

2.5 (of a person) make a sudden, impulsive rush to do something:
‘Gordon jumped to my defence’



Like to add another with a lighter note, 'reacts', as oppose to 'responds'.   The use of 'reacts' in the example sentence would have conveyed the intensity of impulsiveness.   It is a toned-down version of the other words given in the answers above and, supposed, would be an alternative choice of words for asker and others.

To respond or react

But if anyone feels for other stronger words, these should serve vividfully well, 'barks', 'launches', 'explodes' or 'blasts'.

  • 1
    Hi and welcome to ELU Stack Exchange. Please check out the Help Center's page on {how to answer a question](english.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer) here. Right now, this is more like a comment than an answer, and the help page can give suggestions about how to make it a more useful answer. Nov 21, 2016 at 0:24
  • Why do you think it is more like a comment? My answer looks like an answer. It is generic and it does conver the meaning in the intented sentence. Nov 21, 2016 at 0:57
  • 2
    you don't explain why you think there is a difference between "react" and "respond," and "react" on its own doesn't convey impulsivity, which is a key part of the question. A comment on how "react" differs from "respond" could spur a clarification to the question, but still doesn't answer the question. Nov 21, 2016 at 2:03

She always leaps without thinking things through.

This proposal comes from the idiom "look before you leap."

Think carefully about what you are about to do before you do it.



Though not a single-word verb, the following may work.

"You can never tell what Harley is going to do. She always has knee-jerk reactions."


knee-jerk ADJECTIVE

1 [attributive] (of a response) automatic and unthinking.
‘a knee-jerk reaction’

‘Everything he says about these issues is knee-jerk and over-bearing and made up of half-pieces of information he doesn't fully understand.’

‘There will be no knee-jerk reactions and I firmly believe we'll get ourselves out of this.’


She always charges ahead without thinking things through.

I haven't found a definition. But here's my picture of it: you are on a walk in the woods. Harley is the one out front.

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