[ moh-ter ]
See synonyms for: motormotoredmotoring on

  1. a comparatively small and powerful engine, especially an internal-combustion engine in an automobile, motorboat, or the like.

  2. any self-powered vehicle.

  1. a person or thing that imparts motion, especially a contrivance, as a steam engine, that receives and modifies energy from some natural source in order to utilize it in driving machinery.

  2. Also called electric motor. Electricity. a machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, as an induction motor.

  3. motors, stocks or bonds in automobile companies.

  1. pertaining to or operated by a motor.

  2. of, for, by, or pertaining to motor vehicles: motor freight.

  1. designed or for automobiles, their drivers, or their passengers: The hotel has a motor lobby in its parking garage for picking up and discharging passengers.

  2. causing or producing motion.

  3. Physiology. conveying an impulse that results or tends to result in motion, as a nerve.

  4. Psychology, Physiology.Also motoric. of, relating to, or involving muscular movement: a motor response; motor images.

verb (used without object)
  1. to ride or travel in an automobile; drive: They motored up the coast.

verb (used with object)
  1. Chiefly British. to drive or transport by car: He motored his son to school.

Origin of motor

1580–90; <Latin mōtor mover, equivalent to mō- (variant stem of movēre to move) + -tor-tor

Other words from motor

  • mul·ti·mo·tor, noun

Words Nearby motor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use motor in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for motor


/ (ˈməʊtə) /

    • the engine, esp an internal-combustion engine, of a vehicle

    • (as modifier): a motor scooter

  1. Also called: electric motor a machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy by means of the forces exerted on a current-carrying coil placed in a magnetic field

  1. any device that converts another form of energy into mechanical energy to produce motion

  2. an indispensable part or player that moves a process or system along

    • mainly British a car or other motor vehicle

    • as modifier: motor spares

  1. producing or causing motion

  2. physiol

    • of or relating to nerves or neurons that carry impulses that cause muscles to contract

    • of or relating to movement or to muscles that induce movement

  1. (intr) to travel by car

  2. (tr) British to transport by car

  1. (intr) informal to move fast; make good progress

  2. (tr) to motivate

Origin of motor

C16: from Latin mōtor a mover, from movēre to move

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

Scientific definitions for motor


[ tər ]

  1. A machine that uses energy, such as electric or chemical energy (as from burning a fuel), to produce mechanical motion. See also engine.

  1. Involving the muscles or the nerves that are connected to them. Compare sensory.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.