• synonyms


[moh-tuh-vey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for motivation on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for motivation

desire, impetus, interest, wish, incentive, motive, reason, encouragement, impulse, catalyst, inclination, provocation, hunger, gimmick, angle, persuasion, incitation, kick, fire, action

Examples from the Web for motivation

Contemporary Examples of motivation

Historical Examples of motivation

British Dictionary definitions for motivation


  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
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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 motivation


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper