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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Spontaneous \Spon*ta"ne*ous\ (sp[o^]n*t[=a]"n[-e]*[u^]s), a. [L. spontaneus, fr. sponte of free will, voluntarily.]

  1. Proceeding from natural feeling, temperament, or disposition, or from a native internal proneness, readiness, or tendency, without constraint; as, a spontaneous gift or proposition.

  2. Proceeding from, or acting by, internal impulse, energy, or natural law, without external force; as, spontaneous motion; spontaneous growth.

  3. Produced without being planted, or without human labor; as, a spontaneous growth of wood.

    Spontaneous combustion, combustion produced in a substance by the evolution of heat through the chemical action of its own elements; as, the spontaneous combustion of waste matter saturated with oil.

    Spontaneous generation. (Biol.) See under Generation.

    Syn: Voluntary; uncompelled; willing.

    Usage: Spontaneous, Voluntary. What is voluntary is the result of a volition, or act of choice; it therefore implies some degree of consideration, and may be the result of mere reason without excited feeling. What is spontaneous springs wholly from feeling, or a sudden impulse which admits of no reflection; as, a spontaneous burst of applause. Hence, the term is also applied to things inanimate when they are produced without the determinate purpose or care of man. ``Abstinence which is but voluntary fasting, and . . . exercise which is but voluntary labor.''
    --J. Seed.

    Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, The soul adopts, and owns their firstborn away.
    --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster] -- Spon*ta"ne*ous*ly, adv. -- Spon*ta"ne*ous*ness, n.


adv. In a spontaneous manner; naturally; voluntarily.

  1. adv. in a spontaneous manner; "this shift occurs spontaneously"

  2. without advance preparation; "he spoke ad lib" [syn: ad lib, ad libitum, impromptu]

Usage examples of "spontaneously".

It is a hypermutant, a shape shifter, spontaneously altering its character as it moves through populations and through individuals.

We speak nebulously about self-replicating macromolecules supposedly arising spontaneously through some random series of events.

To calm this impatience, I spontaneously proposed a consultation, and naturally pronounced your name, which is well known by your fine work on the medullary lesions.

She cannot even start with the Name itself, but must first permute other words with pen and paper until the pen falls spontaneously from her hand.

Hal Puthoff at SRI, the first case of precognition appeared spontaneously during a session in 1974.

Soldiers spontaneously combusted, burning with a fire no water could extinguish, as pyros went to work.

The grassy plain undulated like the swells of the ocean, and when they reached the next crest of higher ground and could see ahead, they reined in spontaneously and stared in silence at the strange sight that was revealed to them.

Spontaneously arising, a vast immanent expanse, beyond expression, Where neither samsara nor nirvana exist.

But the sessile glands differ in one important respect, for they never secrete spontaneously, as far as I have seen, though I have examined them under a high power on a hot day, whilst the glands on pedicels were secreting copiously.

But no less probable is the assumption that the great Hellenic Gnostic schools arose spontaneously, in the sense of having been independently developed out of the elements to which undoubtedly the Asiatic cults also belonged, without being influenced in any way by Syrian syncretistic efforts.

It makes itself, spontaneously, without direction, and this is where the unlikelihoods come in.

Surely you were all too ignorant to expect it, but the bran spontaneously generated these aspergillus fungi.

Before finally going to New York and hiring a Bruja to sacrifice a chicken for her, she met with all manner of accidents and mishaps, some of which I had seen the proof of -- bruises from her fall down a flight of stairs, her dented car in the parking lot, the results of a fire that had started spontaneously in her pocket book.

This national trait was never more spontaneously illustrated than during the perilous periods of the Fenian Raids.

The small, white variety is almost invariably grown or found growing spontaneously along with grasses, hence no definite place has been or can be assigned to it in the rotation.