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prime mover

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noun
  1. Mechanics.
    1. the initial agent, as wind or electricity, that puts a machine in motion.
    2. a machine, as a water wheel or steam engine, that receives and modifies energy as supplied by some natural source.
  2. means of towing a cannon, as an animal, truck, or tractor.
  3. Also called unmoved mover. Aristotelianism. that which is the first cause of all movement and does not itself move.
  4. a person or thing that initiates or gives power and cohesion to something, as an idea, endeavor, or organization.
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Origin of prime mover

First recorded in 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prime mover

Historical Examples

  • And then it would be such a glorious thing to secure the prime-mover.

    Secret Band of Brothers

    Jonathan Harrington Green


British Dictionary definitions for prime mover

prime mover

noun
  1. the original or primary force behind an idea, enterprise, etc
    1. the source of power, such as fuel, wind, electricity, etc, for a machine
    2. the means of extracting power from such a source, such as a steam engine, electric motor, etc
  2. (in the philosophy of Aristotle) that which is the cause of all movement
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Prime Mover

noun
  1. the Prime Mover philosophy God, esp when considered as a first cause
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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 prime mover

prime mover

The initial source of energy directed toward a goal, someone or something that sets others in motion. For example, Jean was the prime mover in getting us more laboratory space, or Patriotism was the prime mover of the revolution. [Late 1600s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.