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3 definitions found
 for impetus
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Impetus \Im"pe*tus\ ([i^]m"p[-e]*t[u^]s), n. [L., fr. impetere
     to rush upon, attack; pref. im- in + petere to fall upon,
     seek. See Petition.]
     1. A property possessed by a moving body in virtue of its
        weight and its motion; the force with which any body is
        driven or impelled; momentum.
        [1913 Webster]
     Note: Momentum is the technical term, impetus its popular
           equivalent, yet differing from it as applied commonly
           to bodies moving or moved suddenly or violently, and
           indicating the origin and intensity of the motion,
           rather than its quantity or effectiveness.
           [1913 Webster]
     2. Fig.: Impulse; incentive; stimulus; vigor; force; as, the
        President's strong recommendation provided the impetus
        needed to pass the campaign reform bill. --Buckle.
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
     3. (Gun.) The altitude through which a heavy body must fall
        to acquire a velocity equal to that with which a ball is
        discharged from a piece.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a force that moves something along [syn: drift,
           impetus, impulsion]
      2: the act of applying force suddenly; "the impulse knocked him
         over" [syn: impulse, impulsion, impetus]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  59 Moby Thesaurus words for "impetus":
     acceleration, activity, animation, ardor, brio, briskness,
     catalyst, clout, compulsion, drive, driving force, elan,
     encouragement, energy, enthusiasm, getaway, glow, goad, gusto,
     impellent, impelling force, impetuosity, impulse, impulsion,
     incentive, incitation, incitement, inspiration, irresistible force,
     joie de vivre, life, liveliness, lustiness, mettle, moment,
     momentum, motivation, motive power, perkiness, pertness, pickup,
     power, propulsion, push, quickening, robustness, speedup, spirit,
     spiritedness, spur, step-up, stimulant, stimulation, stimulus,
     thrust, vivacity, warmth, zest, zestfulness

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