7 Words For Doing Something Without Thinking (With Examples)

If you’re stumped for a decent word to use for when somebody is doing something without thinking, this article is your best bet. We’ll cover some of the best adjectives for this situation and cover as many of the implications as we can.

Which Words Can Describe Doing Something Without Thinking?

There are a few varying implications for doing something without thinking. Sometimes, it can be something silly that you shouldn’t have said. Other times, you might be falling in love (without realizing it). Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re doing.

Doing something without thinking isn’t always a “bad” thing. Some of the words we’ll cover in this article will demonstrate both the good and the bad sides of the word.

  • Subconsciously
  • Instinctively
  • Mindlessly
  • Inadvertently
  • Automatically
  • Unwittingly
  • Unknowingly
Which Words Can Describe Doing Something Without Thinking?

The preferred version from these words is “subconsciously” because it refers to doing something without thinking in many regards. We might simply forget about something, do something without knowing we’re doing it, or do something without realizing it’s happening.

You’ll also notice that all of the words are adverbs (ending in “ly”). That’s because these are the most appropriate words to use when talking about the way that somebody does things without thinking.


We’ll start with the closest relation of the group of words. “Subconsciously” is your best choice if you want to talk about something happening without somebody thinking about it.

“Subconsciously” means that someone hasn’t put any thought into what they’re doing and instead acts through their subconscious alone. Their subconscious is a part of their mind that notices and remembers information and actions without someone actively needing to think of it.

The definition of “subconsciously,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in a way that uses or relates to the subconscious.”

We can use “subconsciously” in a few different ways. First, and most simply, it means that someone is doing something without thinking about it because their subconscious is acting for them.

Secondly, we can also say that somebody is doing something without necessarily thinking it through. Again, if their subconscious is acting for them, they don’t have to put any active thought into what’s happening and generally will still succeed.

Thirdly, someone might do something subconsciously without knowing it. As long as they’ve seen something done before, their subconscious might choose to do it too without them knowing they’re able to do it.

Lastly, it’s possible to do something without realizing it by using your subconscious. For example, you might fall in love with someone subconsciously, which refers to them doing things that appeal to your subconscious without you realizing they also appeal to you.

Here are some examples of it in use:

  • He kissed me subconsciously, but I knew he wanted to kiss me.
  • They acted subconsciously on the project, but it still turned out amazing.
  • I subconsciously fell in love with you, and I realize now that I’m ready for more.


“Subconsciously” is the most well-rounded word on this list. It applies to all situations where you might be able to act without thinking about it. However, “instinctively” works really well when we do something without knowing about it.

“Instinctively” means that we do something without knowing it. We might do something to protect ourselves or do something that we think is right without knowing that we should. It uses our “instincts” to do something for us, which is our animalistic ability to act without thought.

The definition of “instinctively,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in a way that is not thought about, planned, or developed by training.”

Generally, “instinctively” refers to you doing something without knowing about it. This usually means that it’s a good thing, and you’re doing something to put yourself in a better position.

If you live a particular lifestyle (for example, as a military professional), you might instinctively choose to take some survival techniques into your everyday life when you’re not on a battlefield, which is a great example of how instincts might kick in for different people.

  • I instinctively search for an escape route from birthday parties because you never know what might happen.
  • You acted instinctively, and you managed to save us all from that building!
  • You appealed to me instinctively, and I knew that I needed to have you as my wife!


“Mindlessly” is the first word on this list that connotes something bad. Generally, we use it to insult somebody and say that they did something with very little thought or effort.

“Mindlessly” means that someone lacked their “mind” in the thinking process, thus making whatever action they did a silly thing to do. Generally, we use this for people who do something without thinking about the consequences.

The definition of “mindlessly,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in a way that does not involve thought or mental effort.”

Generally, “mindlessly” refers to somebody who does something without thinking about it. It’s generally an insult, meaning that if somebody just put in a little extra thought, things wouldn’t have gone wrong for them.

In some situations, “mindlessly” is also neutral. We might say that a boring task allows us to work mindlessly, meaning we can easily get through it and do the same thing every time without thinking about what we’re doing.

  • He worked mindlessly for days, and I didn’t see him leave his office.
  • You’re a mindless buffoon! I don’t know how we hired you.
  • I acted mindlessly, and I truly am sorry for the damage I caused you!


“Inadvertently” means that we did something without reason or intention. We might apply this to multiple situations where we act without thinking, though we generally do it in an accidental way, where harm can happen to somebody other than ourselves.

The definition of “inadvertently,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in a way that is not intentional.”

“Inadvertently” is similar to “subconsciously,” but it implies more accidental behavior. It’s also a well-rounded word that allows us to talk about actions that we didn’t think about or think through, but we might also do things without knowing that we’ve done them.

Generally, “inadvertently” is used in a negative context, meaning that you or somebody else did something foolish without thinking about it. Even if it was accidental, you might have caused problems for others.

  • You inadvertently caused us to lose about three months work of work.
  • Inadvertently, I think I deleted the main hard drive from my computer.
  • They acted inadvertently to rescue the helpless, but they only caused more issues.


“Automatically” is an adverb we mostly use to talk about mechanical processes that happen without human input. In this context, we can apply it to someone’s mind acting without any mental input from that person, resulting in action without thinking about it.

The definition of “automatically,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “happening or reacting without the need to consider or do anything extra.”

Generally, “automatically” is a positive word. We talk about things that we do without thinking too much about them, and it works in a similar way to “subconsciously” (though it’s a little more restrictive in the cases we can use it).

If we work automatically, it means we’re not thinking too much about the thing and allowing the subconscious in our minds to think things through.

  • I automatically filled in all the documents, making my work much easier that day.
  • You always do things automatically, and sometimes I think you don’t care.
  • I can’t help but process things automatically when I’m around you.


“Unwittingly” means that we do something without knowing about it. Generally, we’ve done something accidentally without much planning going into it, and it can mean both good and bad things depending on the context.

The definition of “unwittingly,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in a way that is done without knowing or planning.”

“Unwittingly” refers to our mind’s “wit.” We use the prefix “un-” to show that there’s a lack of “wit” in our mind, meaning that we’re not thinking clearly or not allowing ourselves to plan and process things.

  • You unwittingly managed to stop the herd, though you had no idea what you were doing.
  • I’ve unwittingly caused a huge family rift, and I don’t know how to fix it.
  • She’s mad at me for something that I’m sure I did unwittingly because I can’t figure it out!


“Unknowingly” means that we do something without “knowing” or planning it. We might use it to talk about our subconscious acting for us to do something without knowing.

The definition of “unknowingly,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in a way that is not conscious of a particular situation or problem.”

“Unknowingly” uses the root word “know” to talk about what our brain processes. We again use the prefix “un-” to show that we don’t “know” anything that we’re doing.

  • He unknowingly fixed the issues in the system, and everything worked great.
  • You’ve unknowingly undone everything that we’ve worked so hard for.
  • I unknowingly fell in love with her, and I didn’t know what to do.

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