demanding a high or unreasonable rate of work from subordinates.
vigorously active; energetic: a driving young executive.
having force and violence: a driving storm.
relaying or transmitting power.
used while operating a vehicle: driving gloves.

Origin of driving

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at drive, -ing2
Related formsdriv·ing·ly, adverb



verb (used with object), drove or (Archaic) drave, driv·en, driv·ing.

to send, expel, or otherwise cause to move by force or compulsion: to drive away the flies; to drive back an attacking army; to drive a person to desperation.
to cause and guide the movement of (a vehicle, an animal, etc.): to drive a car; to drive a mule.
to convey in a vehicle: She drove them to the station.
to force to work or act: He drove the workers until they collapsed.
to impel; constrain; urge; compel.
to carry (business, an agreement, etc.) vigorously through: He drove a hard bargain.
to keep (machinery) going.
  1. to cause the advance of (a base runner) by a base hit or sacrifice fly: He drove him home with a scratch single.
  2. to cause (a run) to be scored by a base hit or sacrifice fly: He drove in two runs.
Golf. to hit (a golf ball), especially from the tee, as with a driver or driving iron: She drove the ball within ten feet of the pin.
  1. to hit or propel (a ball, puck, shuttlecock, etc.) very hard.
  2. to kick (a ball) with much force.
  1. to chase (game).
  2. to search (a district) for game.
to float (logs) down a river or stream.
(in mining, construction, etc.) to excavate (a mine or tunnel heading).

verb (used without object), drove or (Archaic) drave, driv·en, driv·ing.

to cause and guide the movement of a vehicle or animal, especially to operate an automobile.
to go or travel in a driven vehicle: He drives to work with me.
Golf. to hit a golf ball, especially from the tee, as with a driver or driving iron: He drove long and straight throughout the match.
to strive vigorously toward a goal or objective; to work, play, or try wholeheartedly and with determination.
to go along before an impelling force; be impelled: The ship drove before the wind.
to rush or dash violently.


the act of driving.
a trip in a vehicle, especially a short pleasure trip: a Sunday drive in the country.
an impelling along, as of game, cattle, or floating logs, in a particular direction.
the animals, logs, etc., thus driven.
Psychology. an inner urge that stimulates activity or inhibition; a basic or instinctive need: the hunger drive; sex drive.
a vigorous onset or onward course toward a goal or objective: the drive toward the goal line.
a strong military offensive.
a united effort to accomplish some specific purpose, especially to raise money, as for a charity.
energy and initiative: a person with great drive.
vigorous pressure or effort, as in business.
a road for vehicles, especially a scenic one, as in or along a park, or a short one, as an approach to a house.
Machinery. a driving mechanism, as of an automobile: gear drive; chain drive.
Automotive. the point or points of power application to the roadway: front-wheel drive; four-wheel drive.
  1. an act or instance of driving a ball, puck, shuttlecock, or the like.
  2. the flight of such a ball, puck, shuttlecock, or the like, that has been driven with much force.
Golf. a shot, especially with a driver or driving iron from the tee, that is intended to carry a great distance.
a hunt in which game is driven toward stationary hunters.
Electronics. excitation(def 5).


noting or pertaining to a part of a machine or vehicle used for its propulsion.

Verb Phrases

drive at, to attempt or intend to convey; allude to; suggest: What are you driving at?

Origin of drive

before 900; Middle English drīven, Old English drīfan; cognate with Dutch drijven, Old Norse drīfa, Gothic dreiban, German treiben
Related formsdriv·a·ble, drive·a·ble, adjectivenon·driv·a·ble, adjectivenon·drive·a·ble, adjectivepre·drive, verb, pre·drove, pre·driv·en, pre·driv·ing.re·drive, verb, re·drove, re·driv·en, re·driv·ing.un·driv·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for drive

Synonym study

2, 15. Drive, ride are used interchangeably to mean traveling in an automobile or, formerly, in a horse-drawn vehicle. These two words are not synonyms in other connections. To drive is to maneuver, guide, or steer the progress of a vehicle, animal, etc.: to drive a bus, a horse. To ride is to be carried about by an animal or be carried as a passenger in a vehicle: to ride a horse, a train, a bus.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for driving

Contemporary Examples of driving

Historical Examples of driving

  • To be with those she loved best, and to be driving over the beautiful earth!


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Austin and I have the most important business to transact at Witherby, so he's driving me over.


    William J. Locke

  • Driving with me is no great catch, perhaps; but a promise is a promise.


    William J. Locke

  • He's been scheming, ever since I told him you were coming, to get out of driving in to meet you.

  • Well, it was Martin himself who was driving her to such thoughts.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

British Dictionary definitions for driving



having or moving with force and violencedriving rain
forceful or energetic
relating to the controlling of a motor vehicle in motiondriving test


verb drives, driving, drove (drəʊv) or driven (ˈdrɪvən)

to push, propel, or be pushed or propelled
to control and guide the movement of (a vehicle, draught animal, etc)to drive a car
(tr) to compel or urge to work or act, esp excessively
(tr) to goad or force into a specified attitude or statework drove him to despair
(tr) to cause (an object) to make or form (a hole, crack, etc)his blow drove a hole in the wall
to move or cause to move rapidly by striking or throwing with force
sport to hit (a ball) very hard and straight, as (in cricket) with the bat swinging more or less vertically
golf to strike (the ball) with a driver, as in teeing off
  1. to chase (game) from cover into more open ground
  2. to search (an area) for game
to transport or be transported in a driven vehicle
(intr) to rush or dash violently, esp against an obstacle or solid objectthe waves drove against the rock
(tr) to carry through or transact with vigour (esp in the phrase drive a hard bargain)
(tr) to force (a component) into or out of its location by means of blows or a press
(tr) mining to excavate horizontally
(tr) NZ to fell (a tree or trees) by the impact of another felled tree
drive home
  1. to cause to penetrate to the fullest extent
  2. to make clear by special emphasis


the act of driving
a trip or journey in a driven vehicle
  1. a road for vehicles, esp a private road leading to a house
  2. (capital when part of a street name)Woodland Drive
vigorous or urgent pressure, as in business
a united effort, esp directed towards a common goala charity drive
British a large gathering of persons to play cards, etcSee beetle drive, whist drive
energy, ambition, or initiative
psychol a motive or interest, such as sex, hunger, or ambition, that actuates an organism to attain a goal
a sustained and powerful military offensive
  1. the means by which force, torque, motion, or power is transmitted in a mechanismfluid drive
  2. (as modifier)a drive shaft
sport a hard straight shot or stroke
a search for and chasing of game towards waiting guns
electronics the signal applied to the input of an amplifier
Derived Formsdrivable or driveable, adjectivedrivability or driveability, noun

Word Origin for drive

Old English drīfan; related to Old Frisian drīva, Old Norse drīfa, Gothic dreiban, Old High German trīban
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 driving



Old English drifan "to drive, force, hunt, pursue; rush against" (class I strong verb; past tense draf, past participle drifen), from Proto-Germanic *dribanan (cf. Old Frisian driva, Old Saxon driban, Dutch drijven, Old High German triban, German treiben, Old Norse drifa, Gothic dreiban "to drive"). Not found outside Germanic. Original sense of "pushing from behind," altered in Modern English by application to automobiles. Related: Driving.

MILLER: "The more you drive, the less intelligent you are." ["Repo Man," 1984]



1690s, "act of driving," from drive (v.). Meaning "excursion by vehicle" is from 1785. Golfing sense of "forcible blow" is from 1836. Meaning "organized effort to raise money" is 1889, American English. Sense of "dynamism" is from 1908. In the computing sense, first attested 1963.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

driving in Medicine




A strong motivating tendency or instinct, especially of sexual or aggressive origin, that prompts activity toward a particular end.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.