spontaneous


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

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.
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   2. Proceeding from, or acting by, internal impulse, energy,
      or natural law, without external force; as, spontaneous
      motion; spontaneous growth.
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   3. Produced without being planted, or without human labor;
      as, a spontaneous growth of wood.
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   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.
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   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.
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                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.
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