- 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?
- the reason or motive for some human action: The good news was a cause for rejoicing.
- good or sufficient reason: to complain without cause; to be dismissed for cause.
- a ground of legal action; the matter over which a person goes to law.
- a case for judicial decision.
- any subject of discussion or debate.
- a principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated: the Socialist cause; the human rights cause.
- the welfare of a person or group, seen as a subject of concern: support for the cause of the American Indian.
- 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).
- to be the cause of; bring about.
- 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
Synonyms for causeSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Words for causesorigin, motivation, matter, explanation, element, motive, source, principle, root, purpose, faith, goal, ideal, plan, objective, movement, begin, create, induce, produce
Examples from the Web for causes
Contemporary Examples of causes
The vaccine is delivered through a “carrier virus” that causes a common cold in chimpanzees but does not affect humans.The Race for the Ebola Vaccine
January 7, 2015
Then, Rogen convinces Franco to drink some contaminated water from a stream—which causes the 127 Hours Oscar nominee to dry-heave.James Franco and Seth Rogen Get ‘Naked and Afraid’… And It’s Hilarious
December 8, 2014
Beat the Blahs What causes this wintertime down-in-the-dumps attitude?9 Ways to Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder
December 5, 2014
The term “plus-size” causes anger because the distinction inherently shames the woman concerned—and it gets worse.Let’s Get Rid of ‘Plus-Size’ for Good
November 12, 2014
Republican political operatives say the gains the GOP is set to make are due to a convergence of causes.Return of the Northeastern Republican
November 4, 2014
Historical Examples of causes
It was for ever fighting someone, somewhere, for causes which did not interest the subjects at all.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Besides its trade and its armorers, other causes had combined to pour wealth into it.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
It is this oil that causes bananas to disagree with some persons.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
The power that causes all natural phenomena not known to be caused by something else.The Devil's Dictionary
All these causes of bad butter are inexcusable, and can easily be avoided.Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches
- a person, thing, event, state, or action that produces an effect
- grounds for action; motive; justificationshe had good cause to shout like that
- the ideals, etc, of a group or movementthe Communist cause
- the welfare or interests of a person or group in a disputethey fought for the miners' cause
- a matter of widespread concern or importancethe cause of public health
- a ground for legal action; matter giving rise to a lawsuit
- the lawsuit itself
- (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)
- make common cause with to join with (a person, group, etc) for a common objective
- (tr) to be the cause of; bring about; precipitate; be the reason for
Word Origin for cause
Word Origin and History for causes
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.
Idioms and Phrases with causes
In addition to the idioms beginning with cause
- cause a commotion
- cause raised eyebrows
- lost cause