At times, we do some things without thinking at all. But, interestingly enough, we also tend to forget how to express this kind of idea in words.
We may have to discuss this event in different contexts. So, there is a need to know how to describe this behavior in conversational, literary, and technical terms.
In our post today, you will find 23 ways of expressing the idea of “doing something without thinking.” Hope you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
What are the best words for “doing something without thinking”?
- By instinct
- Old trick
- Good old habit
- On autopilot
- Put under a spell
- Muscle memory
- Conditioned or learned response
- Automatic response
Conversational words for “doing something without thinking”
For starters, you could have reached our post because you might have just been having that tip-of-the-tongue moment.
This means you could have just been unable to remember the easiest ways to express the idea of “doing something without thinking.”
Don’t worry because that happens to every other person out there – no matter what their native language is.
So, if you are looking for conversational ways to say “doing something without thinking,” the first part of our list is dedicated to this category.
Are you looking for the word “habit”? This word is great for any activity you do regularly without thinking whether you should do it or not anymore.
These kinds of activities include reading, studying, doing morning walks, biting the nails when anxious, playing with the hair, or even skipping breakfast.
“Habitually,” the adverb form of “habit” is also a great way of expressing the same idea. Here are two example sentences making use of each:
Good habits are vital for achieving success. By the way, some of the best synonyms for “success” include “accomplishment” and “milk and honey.”
The word “routine” could also represent the idea of “doing something without thinking.” This is great for describing activities we do daily.
These activities may include those that suggest ordinary behavioral patterns like waking up at six, taking a shower, eating breakfast, then driving to work.
You may also make use of the adverb form “routinely” if you like.
“Mannerism” could also be what you’re looking for. Mannerism is any behavior specific to a person or a group of people.
It could refer to any manner of speaking or behaving that a person does. In other words, you would likely remember a person because of it.
4. By instinct
“By instinct” is a prepositional phrase that is used as an adverb. This phrase is good for describing something related to natural behavior.
This natural behavior is often prompted by another given stimulus or event. Alternatives for “by instinct” are “on instinct” and “instinctively.”
“Impulsively” is also another way of saying “doing something without thinking.” This is often used to refer to decision-making processes.
For example, when a person buys things that are on sale even if he or she doesn’t need them, that person is acting impulsively.
The noun form for “impulsively” is “impulsivity” and it is based on the word “impulse.”
Just like “instinctively,” “intuitively” is also a word that can be used for describing an action or behavior that is done with little to no thinking.
When compared to “impulsively,” though, “intuitively” gives off a less negative connotation as it normally refers to learning processes.
“By intuition” is also another way of expressing the adverb “intuitively.”
Meanwhile, “mindlessly” is what we use to describe actions that we do without considering the possible consequences.
When compared to “intuitively,” this word is more conversational and should be understood rather easily by general audiences.
Another easy word for “doing something without thinking” is “unknowingly.” This word is more or less similar to “unintentionally.”
We can use “unknowingly” to suggest the meaning “doing something without being aware of it.”
If you are also looking for something related to psychology that’s fairly easy to use, then “unconsciously” could be the right choice for you.
Suggesting the meaning “without consciousness,” “unconsciously” is best reserved for unpleasant events like biases, anger, and confidence issues.
Literary words for “doing something without thinking”
Another reason for reaching this post is that you also might have been drafting your first screenplay, novel, or poem.
Writing in the literary context entails creativity – a lot of it, actually. So, learning how to say “creative” in different ways may also be useful for you.
That said, we have dedicated some words and phrases, mostly adjectives and idioms, for your concern, too.
In case you are looking for literary ways of saying “doing something without thinking,” you’ll find them in this part.
10. Old trick
“Old trick” refers to a strategy or technique that one uses for dealing with problems. This word may suggest something that is rather deliberate than unintentional.
However, as the behavior or trick has already been more or less wired to the mind of the person, he or she can do it without much thinking.
11. Good old habit
A “good old habit” refers to a positive behavior that one has been practicing for a long time. These habits are often learned at home or school in our early years.
Sometimes, though, it can be deliberately used to ironically suggest a negative meaning. This could happen when the habit does not apply to modern times anymore.
Good old habits include those with ethical and cultural implications like not talking when the mouth is full and not skipping meals.
12. On autopilot
Similarly, “on autopilot” could also be used positively and negatively. But of course, that still depends on the intention of the speaker or writer.
Generally, it suggests the meaning “doing something without thinking because you know how to do it inside out.”
13. Put under a spell
However, if you are looking for something artsier or more dramatic, you could also use “put under a spell.”
This expression suggests the meaning “controlled by magic” or some sort of unnatural force. Note though that this is best reserved for romantic scripts.
“Spellbound” also suggests the same meaning as “put under a spell.” “Spellbound” is mostly used as an adjective or past participle for “spellbind.”
This word is also best reserved for literary contexts rather than conversational ones. This is especially also good for conveying some rhetorical appeal.
Suggesting the meaning “mesmerized” in the literary language genre, “hypnotized” is best used when talking about “fully capturing a person’s attention.”
Hypnosis may also more technically refer to a psychological process of putting a person trance-like state.
When one is under hypnosis or is being hypnotized, he or she is prone to suggestibility. That said, the person may just agree with everything that the therapist says.
You might also check our additional resource material titled “10 Other Ways to Say ‘I Agree’ You Wish You Knew Earlier” to avoid sounding mechanical.
“Bewitched” is a great word when talking about ritualistic and culturally-related situations and actions.
“To bewitch” someone literally means “to cast a spell on that person.” But on a lighter note, it could also simply mean “to captivate” or “to fascinate.”
“Beguiled” is also a great word to use in the literary context. “To beguile” someone means “to charm or tempt the person into doing or feeling something.”
Hence, “to beguile” someone means more like “to deceive” that person. This could then lead that person to do something without thinking.
“Enthralled” is also used in the literary context to mean “to capture someone’s attention,” often because the person is “in awe” of something.
Suggesting a similar connotation as “spellbound” and “bewitched,” “enthralled” is great for talking about wonderful stories and adventures.
“Enamored” suggests the meaning “to be fascinated or captivated by love.” That said, this word is best reserved for romantic scripts.
While the American English spelling for this word is “enamored,” the British English variant is “enamoured.”
Technical words for “doing something without thinking”
Finally, you might have been writing something that belongs to the “more serious” stuff like academic texts or some clinical reports.
If you are seeking more technical ways of expressing the idea of “doing something without thinking,” you should find this part helpful.
Based on the noun form “idiosyncrasy,” the adjective “idiosyncratic” refers to some behavior that is peculiar or unusual to a person.
Suggestive of the meaning “eccentric,” “idiosyncratic” is quite a less frequently used word for “doing something without thinking.”
21. Muscle memory
If you are looking for something more “physical” rather than “mental,” “muscle memory” is also a great term to use.
Literally suggestive of the meaning “to do something without conscious thought or effort,” “muscle memory” is mainly great for talking about physical activities.
These activities must be done repetitively for a long time to get mastered.
22. Conditioned or learned response
Leaning more toward behavioral sciences, a “conditioned or learned response” is a particular behavior that is learned after a conditioning process.
Think about feeling hungry upon the smell of the food you like. That hunger is the conditioned or learned response to the stimulus which is the smell of food.
23. Automatic response
Last but not least is “automatic response.” Bearing more of a neutrally technical connotation, “automatic response” is also a great expression to use.
It is suggestive of the meaning “any pre-conditioned behavioral process in response to a stimulus.”
Language is dynamic and humans are meanwhile creative. This explains why there are several ways of expressing an idea, such as the one discussed today.
By this point, I hope you have already found the word or phrase that best represents the idea of “doing something without thinking.”
Frequently Asked Questions on “Some Words for ‘Doing Something Without Thinking”
What is a synonym of “impulsive”?
“Reckless,” “hasty,” and “irresponsible” are some of the closest synonyms for “impulsive.” These words are generally used in describing negative behaviors.
What is it called when you do something without thinking like breathing?
“Instinct” and “instinctively” are probably the best words that can represent the meaning “doing something without thinking like breathing.”
What word means “doing something without planning?”
“Spontaneously” and “impetuously” are adverbs that suggest the meaning “doing something without planning.”
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.