I keep thinking about it and I can't remember a certain phrase. It's not 'whim' but more like,

I didn't mean to laugh it's just my _______ reaction


I didn't mean to hit you it was just my _____ reaction.

I think it's "something" reaction, I just can't really remember it and it's bothering me.

Hope I'm explaining myself right. Thanks

  • 1
    Instinct? Instinctive?
    – A. Kvåle
    Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 16:11
  • 1
    Apparently you didn't care for impulsive, but did you already discount all its many synonyms shown by thesaurus.com/browse/impulsive?
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 17:44
  • Trumpian suggests itself.
    – David
    Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 20:22
  • 1
    "It's just a reflex?"
    – Boondoggle
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 12:15
  • 1
    gut? first? spontaneous? Please edit your post to explain what research you've done and why each of the words you've already looked at doesn't suit. See How to Ask for further guidance. :-) Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 3:01

3 Answers 3


It's just my kneejerk reaction perhaps.

Informal. reacting according to a certain habitual manner; unthinking: a knee-jerk liberal.

Synonyms: involuntary, unthinking, spontaneous.
Perhaps also affective or compulsive.

  • What I like about this is that when you tap the knee with the hammer, there's no stopping and thinking. The knee jerks as an automatic reaction (if it's hit the right way). Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 5:12

gut reaction

See: Collins:

a reaction to a situation derived from a person's instinct and experience

But I admit this is more appropriate to a mental response than a physical one.


If you happen not to accept "casual, inadvertent", what would you say about "a spur-of-the-moment reaction"? Sorry, I didn't mean to hit you. My reaction was just on the spur of the moment.

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