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Trading and Investment Terminology

Impulse Wave

A wave or cycle of waves that carries the current trend further in the same direction.


The impulse wave is a term used to describe a specific pattern found in Elliott Wave theory. 

The impulse wave is one of two motive wave patterns and indicates to the trader the direction of the near term trend. 

The impulse pattern is a five-wave trend labeled 1-2-3-4-5 or i-ii-iii-iv-v. 

The impulse waveforms in both uptrends and downtrends.

Mr. Elliott showed that a trending market moves in what he calls a 5-3 wave pattern.

The first 5-wave pattern is called impulse waves.


There are three rules associated with impulse waves.

  1. Wave 2 cannot retrace more than 100% of wave 1
  2. Wave 3 can never be the shortest between waves 1,3,5 – many times it is the longest, it doesn’t have to be the longest, but it cannot be the shortest
  3. Wave 4 cannot overlap wave 1