[ kawz ]
/ kɔz /
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See synonyms for: cause / caused / causes / causing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), caused, caus·ing.
to be the cause of; bring about.
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Which sentence is correct?

Idioms about cause

    make common cause, to unite in a joint effort; work together for the same end: They made common cause with neighboring countries and succeeded in reducing tariffs.

Origin of cause

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English, from Latin causa “reason, sake, case”

synonym study for cause

1. Cause, occasion refer to the starting of effects into motion. A cause is an agency, perhaps acting through a long time, or a long-standing situation, that produces an effect: The cause of the quarrel between the two men was jealousy. An occasion is an event that provides an opportunity for the effect to become evident, or perhaps promotes its becoming evident: The occasion was the fact that one man's wages were increased. 3. See reason.



causality, causation, cause

Other definitions for cause (2 of 2)

[ kawz, kuhz, unstressed kuhz ]
/ kɔz, kʌz, unstressed kəz /

conjunction Informal.
a shortened form of because.

Origin of 'cause

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English; aphetic variant
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of cause?

A cause is a person, thing, event, or action that triggers a resulting event. Cause can also mean a motivation or an ideal or goal that a person or group is dedicated to. Cause has several other senses as a noun and one as a verb.

In manner of speaking, the cause tells you why something happened. A cause is the spark that lights a fire. The cause of you being sick might be a bacteria or a virus that harms your body. You giving your niece a birthday present might be the cause of her being happy. The word cause is often used with the word effect, which means a resulting action that happens because of a cause.

  • Real-life examples: Faulty wiring may be the cause of an electrical fire. John Wilkes Booth was the cause of Abraham Lincoln’s death (because Booth shot Lincoln). A giant iceberg was the cause of the sinking of the Titanic.
  • Used in a sentence: Experts are still trying to figure out the cause of the mysterious plane crash. 

In this sense, cause is used as a verb to mean to bring about something.

  • Used in a sentence: My late-night partying caused me to fail my exam.

Cause is also used as a synonym for motive or reason, meaning a person’s motivation for doing something. In this sense, cause is often used in law (usually as “just cause” or “sufficient cause”) to determine if someone had a valid reason for doing something.

  • Used in a sentence: The lawyer argued that the company had fired his client without good cause.

A cause is something that a person or group believes in or an ideal or goal that they have dedicated themselves to.

  • Real-life examples: Antiracism is a cause that wants to end racism. Environmentalism is a cause that wants to protect the environment from damage. If a friend of yours is very sick and you start a collection to help with medical bills, that too is a cause.
  • Used in a sentence: I donated $50 to the cancer charity because they have a good cause.

Where does cause come from?

The first records of cause come from around 1175. It comes from the Latin causa,  meaning “reason” or “sake.”

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What are some other forms related to cause?

  • causable (adjective)
  • causability (noun)
  • causeless (adjective)
  • causelessly (adverb)
  • self-caused (adjective)

What are some synonyms for cause?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cause

What are some words that often get used in discussing cause?

How is cause used in real life?

Cause is a very common word that means a reason something happened.

Try using cause!

True or False?

My cat pushed the lamp off the table. My cat is the cause of my broken lamp.

How to use cause in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cause

/ (kɔːz) /

(tr) to be the cause of; bring about; precipitate; be the reason for

Derived forms of cause

causable, adjectivecausability, nouncauseless, adjectivecauser, noun

Word Origin for cause

C13: from Latin causa cause, reason, motive
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with cause


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.