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Impactful — Definition and synonyms

The suffix -ful often means “full of,” but in cases such as this one, it means “characterized by.” So, the real meaning of “impactful” is “something that has an impact.”

Valentina Dordevic
Valentina Dordevic

It’s been around 60 years since this word first appeared in the written record. Today, you can often see it in business books, articles, and opinion pieces. Most people accepted it, but some believe it is meaningless and that it isn’t a proper word at all.

It’s not hard to see why some find the word “impactful” strange and unnatural. Indeed, being “full of impact” doesn’t really make sense. Luckily, that’s not the meaning of the word.

The suffix -ful often means “full of,” but in cases such as this one, it means “characterized by.” So, the real meaning of “impactful” is “something that has an impact.”

Examples of “impactful” in sentences

She has written an impactful thesis.
What is the definition of impactful experience?
There’s a book titled “Impactful Communication.”
The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most impactful events in recent history.

Have a look at the examples above and try to replace every “impactful” with “that has an impact.” The result is not quite pretty, and you’ll probably agree that this adjective is a wonderful way to avoid wordiness in text.

Synonyms for “impactful”

If you would still like to use another word, here are a couple of synonyms. Note that none of them covers all the implications of “impactful” perfectly. Their suitability depends on the context.

Effective

If something is impactful, it is most certainly effective, but that effect is far from ordinary. While effective means merely “producing results,” these results should be truly remarkable to be called impactful. But we can say something is surprisingly, extremely, or notably effective.

This impactful move changed the direction of the company.
This extremely effective move changed the direction of the company.

Meaningful or Poignant

Impactful often refers to something that creates a strong emotional response.

That speech was impactful. The crowd stood in awe.
That speech was meaningful. The crowd stood in awe.

Influential

Influence and impact are synonyms in many contexts, and so are impactful and influential.

This impactful masterpiece has left a deep trace in contemporary literature.
This influential masterpiece has left a deep trace in contemporary literature.

Still looking for the right word?

Try other synonyms, such as powerful, rousing, stimulating, provoking, moving, affecting, or dynamic.

EnglishIdioms & expressions

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