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motive

[ moh-tiv ]
/ ˈmoʊ tɪv /
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See synonyms for: motive / motives / motiveless on Thesaurus.com

noun

adjective

verb (used with object), mo·tived, mo·tiv·ing.

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Origin of motive

1325–75; (adj.) Middle English (<Middle French motif) <Medieval Latin mōtīvus serving to move, equivalent to Latin mōt(us) (past participle of movēre to move) + -īvus-ive; (noun) Middle English (<Middle French motif) <Medieval Latin mōtīvum, noun use of neuter of mōtīvus
1. Motive, incentive, inducement apply to whatever moves one to action. Motive is, literally, something that moves a person; an inducement, something that leads a person on; an incentive, something that inspires a person. Motive is applied mainly to an inner urge that moves or prompts a person to action, though it may also apply to a contemplated result, the desire for which moves the person: His motive was a wish to be helpful. Inducement is never applied to an inner urge, and seldom to a goal: The pleasure of wielding authority may be an inducement to get ahead. It is used mainly of opportunities offered by the acceptance of certain conditions, whether these are offered by a second person or by the factors of the situation: The salary offered me was a great inducement. Incentive was once used of anything inspiring or stimulating the emotions or imagination: incentives to piety; it has retained of this its emotional connotations, but (rather like inducement ) is today applied only to something offered as a reward, and offered particularly to stimulate competitive activity: to create incentives for higher achievement. 2. See reason.
mo·tive·less, adjectivemo·tive·less·ly, adverbmo·tive·less·ness, nounwell-motived, adjective

Definition for motive (2 of 2)

-motive

a combining form of motive: automotive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for motive

motive
/ (ˈməʊtɪv) /

noun

the reason for a certain course of action, whether conscious or unconscious
a variant of motif (def. 2)

adjective

of or causing motion or actiona motive force
of or acting as a motive; motivating

verb (tr)

to motivate
motiveless, adjectivemotivelessly, adverbmotivelessness, noun
C14: from Old French motif, from Late Latin mōtīvus (adj) moving, from Latin mōtus, past participle of movēre to move
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for motive

motive
[ mōtĭv ]

n.

An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action.learned drive

adj.

Causing or able to cause motion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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