• WordNet 3.6
    • adj instinct (followed by `with')deeply filled or permeated "imbued with the spirit of the Reformation","words instinct with love","it is replete with misery"
    • n instinct inborn pattern of behavior often responsive to specific stimuli "the spawning instinct in salmon","altruistic instincts in social animals"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Screenwriter Joe Ezterhas was paid $3 million for his script, Basic Instinct, the highest amount ever paid to a screenwriter.
    • Instinct A natural aptitude or knack; a predilection; as, an instinct for order; to be modest by instinct.
    • Instinct Natural inward impulse; unconscious, involuntary, or unreasoning prompting to any mode of action, whether bodily, or mental, without a distinct apprehension of the end or object to be accomplished. "An instinct is a propensity prior to experience, and independent of instructions.""An instinct is a blind tendency to some mode of action, independent of any consideration, on the part of the agent, of the end to which the action leads.""An instinct is an agent which performs blindly and ignorantly a work of intelligence and knowledge.""By a divine instinct , men's minds mistrust
      Ensuing dangers."
    • Instinct (Zoöl) Specif., the natural, unreasoning, impulse by which an animal is guided to the performance of any action, without thought of improvement in the method. "The resemblance between what originally was a habit, and an instinct becomes so close as not to be distinguished."
    • v. t Instinct ĭn*stĭṉkt" To impress, as an animating power, or instinct.
    • a Instinct Urged or stimulated from within; naturally moved or impelled; imbued; animated; alive; quick; as, birds instinct with life. "The chariot of paternal deity . . . Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed
      By four cherubic shapes."
      "A noble performance, instinct with sound principle."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • instinct Urged or animated from within; moved inwardly; infused or filled with some active principle: followed by with.
    • instinct To impress as by an animating influence; communicate as an instinct.
    • n instinct A special innate propensity, in any organized being, but more especially in the lower animals, producing effects which appear to be those of reason and knowledge, but which transcend the general intelligence or experience of the creature; the sagacity of brutes. Instinct is said to be blind—that is, either the end is not consciously recognized by the animal, or the connection of the means with the end is not understood. Instinct is also, in general, somewhat deficient in instant adaptability to extraordinary circumstances.
    • n instinct Natural intuitive power; innate power of perception or intuition.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Instinct in′stingkt impulse: an involuntary prompting to action: intuition: the mental aspect of those actions which take rank between unconscious reflex activities and intelligent conduct: the natural impulse by which animals are guided apparently independent of reason or experience
    • adj Instinct (in-stingkt′) instigated or incited: moved: animated
    • ***


  • Anatole France
    “In art as in love, instinct is enough.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”
  • James Russell Lowell
    “Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.”
  • Alexander Bain
    Alexander Bain
    “Instinct is untaught ability.”
  • Madame de Girardin
    Madame de Girardin
    “Instinct is the nose of the mind.”
  • Princess of Wales Diana
    “I have a woman's instinct and it's always a good one.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. instinctus, p. p. of instinguere, to instigate, incite; cf. instigare, to instigate. Cf. Instigate Distinguish


In literature:

As their mistress rose, the three women shrank instinctively backward.
"The Genius" by Margaret Horton Potter
Civilization, and acquisitive instinct; control of instincts in; factors in development of.
"Human Traits and their Social Significance" by Irwin Edman
Against this he urges his intelligence and social instincts.
"Evolution in Modern Thought" by Ernst Haeckel
Still, an instinct tells him, the little bit of treasure-trove may some time, and in some way, prove useful.
"The Death Shot" by Mayne Reid
Instinctively his hands clenched.
"The Fighting Shepherdess" by Caroline Lockhart
True to their instinct then, as now, they worked only so long as they needed money.
"The Bishop of Cottontown" by John Trotwood Moore
That had been her first care, her first duty prompted by an instinct that made her merciless in its execution.
"The Black Phantom" by Leo Edward Miller
As Bill rode into those gray and terrible waters, Virginia's first instinct was to call him back.
"The Snowshoe Trail" by Edison Marshall
Far stronger than the social instinct, and far older, is the love of life and the instinct of self-preservation.
"The World's Greatest Books - Volume 15 - Science" by Various
He dared not let himself go, the way his instincts urged.
"The Kingdom Round the Corner" by Coningsby Dawson

In poetry:

Reasoning at every step he treads,
Man yet mistakes his way,
While meaner things whom instinct leads
Are rarely known to stray.
"The Doves" by William Cowper
O friend! if thought and sense avail not
To know thee henceforth as thou art,
That all is well with thee forever
I trust the instincts of my heart.
"A Memorial" by John Greenleaf Whittier
For with a lark's heart he doth tower,
By a glorious upward instinct drawn;
No bee nestles deeper in the flower
Than he in the bursting rose of dawn.
"The Falcon" by James Russell Lowell
Ah! man of learning, you are wrong;
Instinct is, more than wisdom, strong;
And He who made the Sparrow, taught
This skill beyond your reach of thought.
"The Sparrow's Nest" by Mary Botham Howitt
`What is it rules thy singing season?
`What is it rules thy singing season?
Instinct, that diviner Reason,
To which the wish to know seemeth a sort of treason.'
"Free Will And Fate" by Alfred Austin
Lord, what is man, whose thought, at times,
Up to Thy sevenfold brightness climbs,
While still his grosser instinct clings
To earth, like other creeping things!
"The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier

In news:

Oregon's Alaina Bergsma finds her killer instinct.
'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' Star Betsy Wolfe on Trusting Her Instincts.
Ken Jefferson says police instincts kicked in after witnessing crash.
The fawn 's first instinct was to remain still and camouflaged.
Lavasier Tuinei instinctively follows his father, a former NFL player, into the game.
At the same time, he has good hands and vision and we like his offensive instincts.
INTERVIEWS SXSW's Best Foxy Girl Group: Puro Instinct.
Puro Instinct / Photo by Kathryn Yu.
Instincts compelled him to jump back into position, and while he was retreating, the Green Bay Packers snapped the football.
My initial instinct is that it's totally wrong and I could never see myself as a father doing this.
George Mason 's killer instinct still missing.
If you're getting a certain feeling about a place or that gut instinct, go with it," said Roswell Ghost Tour guide and author of "Georgia Spirits and Specters," Beth Dolgner.
Goldsmith 's clutch instincts overshadow lack of experience.
JACKSON, MI – A man who reaches my age should know some things instinctively.
Principal dancer Aleksandar Antonijevic moved instinctively to music as a child before he even knew what dance was.

In science:

Although one is instinctively shy at first, we are free to use simple language to describe what happens as if the particle was a marble.
Physics with exotic probability theory
Our first instinct is to convert this low-quality randomness into high-quality randomness.
Can Random Coin Flips Speed Up a Computer?
In several respects this theory is similar to Perlovsky (2001) ‘knowledge instinct’ or NfK.
Curiosity and Pleasure
Language learning is driven by what Pinker (1994) called ‘the language instinct’; it is different from NfK or ‘the knowledge instinct’ as discussed above.
Curiosity and Pleasure
Language instinct involves only language and does not involve life experience.
Curiosity and Pleasure