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Instinct

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Something pricked or punctured into one. Distinguish is of the same root, and means to prick or puncture separately. Extinguish means to prick or puncture out. In all cases the allusion is to marking by a puncture. At college the “markers” at the chapel doors still hold a pin in one hand, and prick with it the name of each “man” who enters. The word is used to express a natural impulse to do something; an inherent habit.

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“Although reason may … be blended with instinct, the distinction between the two is sufficiently precise. Reason only acts upon a definite and often laboriously acquired knowledge of the relation between means and ends.”—Romanes: Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. xiii. p. 157 (ninth edition).

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Innocent (An)
Innocents
Innuendo
Inoculate
Inogene or Ignoge
Inquisition
Insane Root (The)
Inscription of a Coin
Insolence. (Latin, in-soleo.)
Inspired Idiot (The)
Instinct
Institutes
Instructions to the Committee
Insubri
Insult
Insulter
Intaglio (Italian)
Intellect
Intendance Militaire
Intentions
Inter Alia (Latin)