[moh-tuh-vey-shuh n]
  1. the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way: I don't understand what her motivation was for quitting her job.
  2. the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something: We know that these students have strong motivation to learn.
  3. something that motivates; inducement; incentive: Clearly, the company's long-term motivation is profit.

Origin of motivation

First recorded in 1870–75; motive + -ation
Related formsmo·ti·va·tion·al, adjectivemo·ti·va·tive, adjectivean·ti·mo·ti·va·tion·al, adjectivede·mo·ti·va·tion, nounnon·mo·ti·va·tion, nounnon·mo·ti·va·tion·al, adjectivere·mo·ti·va·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for demotivation


  1. the act or an instance of motivating
  2. desire to do; interest or drive
  3. incentive or inducement
  4. psychol the process that arouses, sustains and regulates human and animal behaviour
Derived Formsmotivational, adjectivemotivative, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for demotivation



1873, from motivate + -ion. Psychological use, "inner or social stimulus for an action," is from 1904.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper