From Latin īnstinctus, past participle of īnstinguō (“to incite, to instigate”), from in (“in, on”) + stinguō (“to prick”). This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.
- A natural or inherent impulse or behaviour.
- Many animals fear fire by instinct.
- c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene iii]:
- By a divine instinct, men's minds mistrust / Ensuing dangers.
- 1921, Bertrand Russell, The Analysis of Mind:
- In spite of these qualifications, the broad distinction between instinct and habit is undeniable. To take extreme cases, every animal at birth can take food by instinct, before it has had opportunity to learn; on the other hand, no one can ride a bicycle by instinct, though, after learning, the necessary movements become just as automatic as if they were instinctive.
- An intuitive reaction not based on rational conscious thought.
- an instinct for order; to be modest by instinct
- Debbie's instinct was to distrust John.
- (archaic) Imbued, charged (with something).
- 1667, John Milton, “Book 6”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
- The chariot of paternal deity […] / Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed / By four cherubic shapes.
- 1838, Henry Brougham, Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III
- a noble performance, instinct with sound principle
- 1857, Charlotte Brontë, The Professor
- Her eyes, whose colour I had not at first known, so dim were they with repressed tears, so shadowed with ceaseless dejection, now, lit by a ray of the sunshine that cheered her heart, revealed irids of bright hazel – irids large and full, screened with long lashes; and pupils instinct with fire.
- 1899, John Buchan, No Man's Land
- It was a most Bedlamite catalogue of horrors, which, if true, made the wholesome moors a place instinct with tragedy.
- 1928 February, H[oward] P[hillips] Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu”, in Farnsworth Wright, editor, Weird Tales: A Magazine of the Bizarre and Unusual, volume 11, number 2, Indianapolis, Ind.: Popular Fiction Pub. Co., OCLC 55045234, pages 159–178 and 287:
- This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters.
- “instinct” in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- “instinct” in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
instinct n (plural instincten)
- instinct (innate response, impulse or behaviour)
instinct m (plural instincts)
- “instinct”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
instinct n (plural instincte)