motive, motivative(a), motivating

(adjective) impelling to action; “it may well be that ethical language has primarily a motivative function”- Arthur Pap; “motive pleas”; “motivating arguments”

motivation, motive, need

(noun) the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior; “we did not understand his motivation”; “he acted with the best of motives”

motif, motive

(noun) a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration

motif, motive

(noun) a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music

Source: WordNet® 3.1



motive (plural motives)

(obsolete) An idea or communication that makes one want to act, especially from spiritual sources; a divine prompting. [14th-17th c.]

An incentive to act in a particular way; a reason or emotion that makes one want to do something; anything that prompts a choice of action. [from 15th c.]

Synonym: motivation

(obsolete, rare) A limb or other bodily organ that can move. [15th-17th c.]

(law) Something which causes someone to want to commit a crime; a reason for criminal behaviour. [from 18th c.]

(architecture, fine arts) A motif. [from 19th c.]

(music) A motif; a theme or subject, especially one that is central to the work or often repeated. [from 19th c.]


• (creative works) motif


motive (third-person singular simple present motives, present participle motiving, simple past and past participle motived)

(transitive) To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move.

Synonym: motivate


motive (not comparable)

Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move

Synonym: moving

Relating to motion and/or to its cause

Synonym: motional


• evomit, move it

Source: Wiktionary

Mo"tive, n. Etym: [F. motif, LL. motivum, from motivus moving, fr. L. movere, motum, to move. See Move.]

1. That which moves; a mover. [Obs.] Shak.

2. That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choise, or moving the will; cause; reason; inducement; object. By motive, I mean the whole of that which moves, excites, or invites the mind to volition, whether that be one thing singly, or many things conjunctively. J. Edwards.

3. (Mus.)

Definition: The theme or subject; a leading phrase or passage which is reproduced and varied through the course of a comor a movement; a short figure, or melodic germ, out of which a whole movement is develpoed. See also Leading motive, under Leading. [Written also motivo.]

4. (Fine Arts)

Definition: That which produces conception, invention, or creation in the mind of the artist in undertaking his subject; the guiding or controlling idea manifested in a work of art, or any part of one.


– Incentive; incitement; inducement; reason; spur; stimulus; cause.

– Motive, Inducement, Reason. Motive is the word originally used in speaking of that which determines the choice. We call it an inducement when it is attractive in its nature. We call it a reason when it is more immediately addressed to the intellect in the form of argument.

Mo"tive, a.

Definition: Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move; as, a motive argument; motive power. "Motive faculty." Bp. Wilkins. Motive power (Mach.), a natural agent, as water, steam, wind, electricity, etc., used to impart motion to machinery; a motor; a mover.

Mo"tive, v. t.

Definition: To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move.

Source: Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1913 Edition


Word of the Day

20 May 2024


(adjective) affixed or as if affixed with glue or paste; “he stayed glued to one spot”; “pieces of pasted paper”

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