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. [1913 Webster]

2. Proceeding from, or acting by, internal impulse, energy, or natural law, without external force; as, spontaneous motion; spontaneous growth. [1913 Webster]

3. Produced without being planted, or without human labor; as, a spontaneous growth of wood. [1913 Webster]

{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}. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • spontaneously — spon·ta·ne·ous·ly …   English syllables

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