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verb (used with object), mo·ti·vat·ed, mo·ti·vat·ing.
  1. to provide with a motive, or a cause or reason to act; incite; impel.
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Origin of motivate

First recorded in 1860–65; motive + -ate1
Related formsmo·ti·va·tor, nounde·mo·ti·vate, verb (used with object), de·mo·ti·vat·ed, de·mo·ti·vat·ing.de·mo·ti·va·tor, nounnon·mo·ti·vat·ed, adjectivere·mo·ti·vate, verb (used with object), re·mo·ti·vat·ed, re·mo·ti·vat·ing.un·mo·ti·vat·ed, adjectiveun·mo·ti·vat·ing, adjectivewell-mo·ti·vat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for motivate

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for motivator

instigator, motivator, mover, achiever, dynamo, annoyance, irritant, pest, prod, spur, excitant, energizer, author, creator, drive, stimulator

Examples from the Web for motivator

Contemporary Examples of motivator

British Dictionary definitions for motivator


  1. (tr) to give incentive to
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Derived Formsmotivator, noun
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 motivator


1917, agent noun in Latin form from motivate (v.).

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1863, "to stimulate toward action," from motive + -ate (2); perhaps modeled on French motiver or German motivieren. Related: Motivated; motivating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper