/ˈınˌstıŋkt/ noun, pl -stincts
1 a : a way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is not learned : a natural desire or tendency that makes you want to act in a particular way

Our first instinct was to run.

Cats possess a natural hunting instinct.

Seeing the baby aroused all her maternal instincts.


The decision was based on (gut) instinct.

— see also killer instinct
1 b : something you know without learning it or thinking about it

Her instincts told her that something was wrong. [=she believed that something was wrong even though there was no obvious reason to believe it]

You have to learn to trust/follow your instincts. [=to trust your feelings about what is right or true even when you cannot be sure that it is right or true]

He has been guided throughout his career by his political instincts.


Mere instinct alerted her to the danger.

He knew by instinct what not to say.

She seemed to know by instinct that something was wrong.

— compare intuition
2 [count] : a natural ability

He has a strong survival instinct.

an athlete with good instincts

— often + for

He has a strong instinct for survival.

She has a natural instinct for making the right decisions in her job.

— sometimes followed by to + verb

a strong instinct to survive

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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