See under cause(def 8b).
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Origin of material cause
Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400
Words nearby material cause
Definition for material cause (2 of 2)
[ kawz ]
/ kɔz /
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).
verb (used with object), caused, caus·ing.
to be the cause of; bring about.
Origin of cause
1175–1225; Middle English < 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.
OTHER WORDS FROM cause
caus·a·ble, adjectivecaus·a·bil·i·ty, nouncause·less, adjectivecause·less·ly, adverb
cause·less·ness, nouncaus·er, nounnon·caus·a·ble, adjectiveself-caused, adjectivesub·cause, nounun·caus·a·ble, adjectiveun·der·cause, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for material cause
/ (kɔːz) /
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
Derived forms of causecausable, 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
Idioms and Phrases with material cause
In addition to the idioms beginning with cause
- cause a commotion
- cause raised eyebrows
- lost cause
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.