n. pl. im·pe·tus·es
1. An impelling force; an impulse.
2. The force or energy associated with a moving body.
a. Something that incites; a stimulus.
b. Increased activity in response to a stimulus: The approaching deadline gave impetus to the investigation.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.