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instinct - definition and synonyms

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noun [countable/uncountable]     instinct pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a natural tendency to behave in a particular way that people and animals are born with and that they obey without knowing why. For example the maternal instinct is a woman’s natural tendency to behave like a mother

    the instinct of ducklings to follow their mother

    instinct for:

    the instinct for survival

  2. 2
    a natural ability to know what to do in a particular situation

    My first instinct was to turn and run.

    trust/follow your instincts:

    It’s always best to trust your instincts.

    instinct tells/warns you:

    Instinct told me that it would be unwise to return home.



to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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