[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

Examples from the Web for motivational

Contemporary Examples of motivational

Historical Examples of motivational

  • Fancy packaging designed by some of the most competent commercial artists and motivational research men in the country.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • It has deprived the groups of their cohesion and the individual of his motivational drive.

British Dictionary definitions for motivational


  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 motivational

1931, from motivation + -al (1).



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper