- a ground of legal action; the matter over which a person goes to law.
- a case for judicial decision.
- the end or purpose for which a thing is done or produced.
- Aristotelianism.any of the four things necessary for the movement or the coming into being of a thing, namely a material (material cause), something to act upon it (efficient cause), a form taken by the movement or development (formal cause), and a goal or purpose (final cause).
verb (used with object), caused, caus·ing.
Origin of cause
Synonyms for cause
- a ground for legal action; matter giving rise to a lawsuit
- the lawsuit itself
Word Origin for cause
late 14c., "produce an effect," also "impel, compel," from Old French causer "to cause" (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin causare, from Latin causa "a cause; a reason; interest; judicial process, lawsuit," of unknown origin. Related: Caused; causing. Classical Latin causari meant "to plead, to debate a question."
c.1200, "reason for action, grounds for action; motive," from Old French cause "cause, reason; lawsuit, case in law" (12c.), and directly from Latin causa "a cause; a reason; interest; judicial process, lawsuit," of unknown origin.
In English, sense of "matter of concern; side taken in controversy" is from c.1300; that of "the source of an effect" is early 14c.; meaning "reason for something taking place" is late 14c. Cause célèbre "celebrated legal case" is 1763, from French. Cause why? "for what reason?" is in Chaucer.
In addition to the idioms beginning with cause
- cause a commotion
- cause raised eyebrows
- lost cause