[ kawz ]
See synonyms for: causecausedcausescausing on

  1. a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect: You have been the cause of much anxiety.What was the cause of the accident?

  2. the reason or motive for some human action: The good news was a cause for rejoicing.

  1. good or sufficient reason: to complain without cause;to be dismissed for cause.

  2. Law.

    • a ground of legal action; the matter over which a person goes to law.

    • a case for judicial decision.

  3. any subject of discussion or debate.

  4. a principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated: the Socialist cause;the human rights cause.

  5. the welfare of a person or group, seen as a subject of concern: support for the cause of the American Indian.

  6. Philosophy.

    • 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.
  1. to be the cause of; bring about.

Idioms about cause

  1. 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 “case, reason, sake”

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.

Other words for cause

Other words from cause

  • caus·a·ble, adjective
  • caus·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • causeless, adjective
  • cause·less·ly, adverb
  • cause·less·ness, noun
  • causer, noun
  • non·caus·a·ble, adjective
  • self-caused, adjective
  • subcause, noun
  • un·caus·a·ble, adjective
  • un·der·cause, noun

Words that may be confused with cause

Other definitions for 'cause (2 of 2)

[ kawz, kuhz, unstressed kuhz ]

  1. a shortened form of because.

Origin of 'cause

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English; aphetic variant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cause in a sentence

  • And the Causer of the mountain will probably know that they both are right.

    Dynamic Thought | William Walker Atkinson
  • I call him Homo Causacadere, the fall causer, whose activator is hostility.

  • The causing of the little ones to offend hangs a fearful woe about the neck of the causer.

    Mary Marston | George MacDonald
  • Quand Boum était assoupi, ses parents s'éloignaient de son lit et restaient à causer près de la cheminée.

    Histoires grises | E. Edouard Tavernier
  • Wit ye well I would not for the stint of my crown be causer to withdraw your hearts.

British Dictionary definitions for cause


/ (kɔːz) /

  1. a person, thing, event, state, or action that produces an effect

  2. grounds for action; motive; justification: she had good cause to shout like that

  1. the ideals, etc, of a group or movement: the Communist cause

  2. the welfare or interests of a person or group in a dispute: they fought for the miners' cause

  3. a matter of widespread concern or importance: the cause of public health

    • a ground for legal action; matter giving rise to a lawsuit

    • the lawsuit itself

  4. (in the philosophy of Aristotle) any of four requirements for a thing's coming to be, namely material (material cause), its nature (formal cause), an agent (efficient cause), and a purpose (final cause)

  5. make common cause with to join with (a person, group, etc) for a common objective

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

Origin of cause

C13: from Latin causa cause, reason, motive

Derived forms of cause

  • causable, adjective
  • causability, noun
  • causeless, adjective
  • causer, noun

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


In addition to the idioms beginning with cause

  • cause a commotion
  • cause raised eyebrows

also see:

  • lost cause

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