• synonyms

profit motive

  1. the desire for profit that motivates one to engage in business ventures.
Show More

Origin of profit motive

First recorded in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

profit motive in Culture

profit motive

The ability to earn profits as the reason for producers to make and sell goods.

Show More


The profit motive is often called a great good or a great evil in society. On the one hand, it is said to represent selfishness; on the other, it is said to drive the free market system. (See invisible hand.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.