Instinctive vs. Instinctual - What's the difference?


  • Instinctive (adjective)

    Related to or prompted by instinct.

  • Instinctive (adjective)

    Driven by impulse, spontaneous and without thinking.

  • Instinctual (adjective)

    Of, relating to, or derived from instinct.

Oxford Dictionary

  • Instinctive (adjective)

    relating to or prompted by instinct; done without conscious thought

    "an instinctive distaste for conflict"

  • Instinctive (adjective)

    (of a person) doing or being a specified thing apparently naturally or automatically

    "he was an instinctive cook"

  • Instinctual (adjective)

    relating to or denoting an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour; based on instinct

    "an instinctual survival response"

    "instinctual maternal behaviour"

Webster Dictionary

  • Instinctive (adjective)

    Of or pertaining to instinct; derived from, or prompted by, instinct; of the nature of instinct; determined by natural impulse or propensity; acting or produced without reasoning, deliberation, instruction, or experience; spontaneous.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Instinctive (adjective)

    unthinking; prompted by (or as if by) instinct;

    "a cat's natural aversion to water"

    "offering to help was as instinctive as breathing"



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