Meaning of spontaneous in English:



  • 1Performed or occurring as a result of a sudden impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.

    ‘the audience broke into spontaneous applause’
    ‘a spontaneous display of affection’
    • ‘She's so lively and smiley that her responses to the audience seem entirely unforced and spontaneous.’
    • ‘The audience alternated compulsive chatter with breathless silence, and there were three or four mid-film bouts of spontaneous, delighted applause.’
    • ‘For the second time in the festival, the crowd broke into spontaneous cheers and applause as the village women stood up against the oppressive regime of their village.’
    • ‘Typically we do most of our grocery shopping at large supermarkets, and do only impromptu, spontaneous purchases from convenience stores and gas marts.’
    • ‘The 27-year-old director also exhibits a great reverence for his actors, whose performances often seem so spontaneous, many viewers mistakenly believe the film was improvised.’
    • ‘The performer must make spontaneous decisions about what pose to strike and where to freeze the action.’
    • ‘Let me expound upon a few spontaneous thoughts.’
    • ‘Now, it's more concentrated and not as spontaneous.’
    • ‘A lot of it has a spontaneous feel and that's why it's so good.’
    • ‘They just do it, and it's beautiful and creative and spontaneous.’
    • ‘His editorial vision was flawless, spontaneous and always laser-sharp.’
    • ‘On a surface read, what appears to be unscripted, spontaneous, and endlessly eventful is not.’
    • ‘On a day's journey off the beaten track one might meet very few people, but their hospitality was spontaneous and generous.’
    • ‘This results in a show that is all spontaneous energy, time and time again.’
    • ‘This was unfamiliar music to them, and to show such a spontaneous reaction was very gratifying.’
    • ‘Actors, particularly, responded to his approach, claiming this method gave a fresh, spontaneous quality to their performances.’
    • ‘The audience loved it so much that they gave spontaneous applause after the fierce ending of the first movement.’
    • ‘The spontaneous applause at this moment in the work from the audience attested to its impact!’
    • ‘The film did indeed cause several bouts of spontaneous applause during the screening I saw.’
    • ‘Their first scene received well-deserved spontaneous applause from the packed audience.’
    unforced, voluntary, unconstrained, unprompted, unbidden, unsolicited, unplanned, unpremeditated, unrehearsed, impulsive, impetuous, unstudied, impromptu, spur-of-the-moment, extempore, extemporaneous
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    1. 1.1Having an open, natural, and uninhibited manner.
      • ‘Both improvisation and the musical hold the contradictory idea that spontaneous performance is available to all and that some people are more spontaneous or open than others.’
      • ‘Everything from Finny's appearance to his walk to his personality is natural and spontaneous.’
      • ‘Whistler's charm was genuine and completely spontaneous.’
      • ‘His natural ability to be flexible and spontaneous at the same time always commended itself to orchestras, but I don't believe he looked on himself as a stylist.’
      • ‘Apart from this I try to be spontaneous, like the sudden ideas one gets during good conversations.’
      • ‘Sarah is the free spirit black sheep of a rich family who is known for her impulsive, spontaneous personality.’
      • ‘You need to be spontaneous and to be able to react to any given situation, because no group of children are the same.’
      • ‘I have never been spontaneous, but people change.’
      natural, uninhibited, relaxed, unselfconscious, unaffected, easy, free and easy
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    2. 1.2(of a process or event) occurring without apparent external cause.
      ‘spontaneous miscarriages’
      • ‘Some spontaneous abortions, apparently, ‘can be seen as a woman's reproductive organs unconsciously deciding not to go ahead with this pregnancy’.’
      • ‘The spontaneous form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the one not linked to consumption of beef or anything else, claimed over 1,000 Brits in the same time period.’
      • ‘I guess it's something like spontaneous human combustion, only different.’
    3. 1.3Biology (of movement or activity in an organism) instinctive or involuntary.
      ‘the spontaneous mechanical activity of circular smooth muscle’
      • ‘For what it's worth, a zooid is ‘an organic cell capable of spontaneous movement independent of the parent organism.’’
      reflex, automatic, knee-jerk, involuntary, unthinking, unconscious, instinctive, instinctual
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    4. 1.4archaic (of a plant) growing naturally and without being tended or cultivated.


Mid 17th century from late Latin spontaneus (from (sua) sponte ‘of (one's) own accord’) + -ous.