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People often use the word "reactionary" to mean: "quick to react or jump to conclusions based on scant evidence."

For example:

People who think that this athlete is over the hill based on a single poor performance are simply being reactionary.

Of course, the word "reactionary" does not actually mean this. But is there a word which does have this meaning and could be used instead?

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    'Impetuous' and 'over-hasty' are hypernyms; I'll check to see if any dictionary specifies 'quick to react or jump to conclusions based on scant evidence'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 30 at 14:55
  • Reactive, oppositional? – Yosef Baskin Oct 30 at 14:56
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    Is reactionary really widely used in this way? – DJClayworth Oct 31 at 1:27
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The question comes with the tag, malapropism.

In also this sense, overreactive. Or, to liken the start of word, reactionary, to rash, and reckless.

Overreactive (adj): Too reactive; tending to overreact.

[Wordnik]

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  • Yes, this seems to be the best-fitting word that can be directly substituted into the example I gave and it will still retain its same meaning. – Izzhov Oct 30 at 16:43
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At WinEveryGame there is a narrowed definition of impetuous that fits, but I'll add the broader dictionary definitions they give:

Impetuous is an adjective which describes a person or a thing, usually an action or idea, as arriving at an outcome impulsively or without much critical thought.

........

impetuous [adjective]

  • Acting or deciding upon something with little to no forethought

  • Aggressive or instantaneous in nature

..........................................

Colloquially, they

shoot from the hip.

From Lexico [US Dictionary]:

shoot from the hip [phrase] [informal]

react suddenly or without careful consideration of one's words or actions.

  • In the book he shoots from the hip and rides roughshod over reputations, holding a modicum of his once monumental power and relishing it.
  • To some he is difficult to take seriously, and he may come across as the sort who shoots from the hip with little thought for the consequences.
  • I know that she shoots from the hip and is liable to provoke righteous indignation.
  • He doesn't shoot from the hip but takes a more considered approach and would rather explain to people why he holds the views he holds than intimidate them to his point of view.
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I haven't encountered this kind of improper use of reactionary before, and while there's no very good single-word replacement that's also an adjective, there's a phrase that means exactly that: to jump to conclusions

People who think that this athlete is over the hill based on a single poor performance are just jumping to conclusions.

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