[ moh-tiv ]
/ ˈmoʊ tɪv /



verb (used with object), mo·tived, mo·tiv·ing.

to motivate.

Origin of motive

1325–75; (adj.) Middle English (< Middle French motif) < Medieval Latin mōtīvus serving to move, equivalent to Latin mōt(us) (past participle of movēre to move) + -īvus -ive; (noun) Middle English (< Middle French motif) < Medieval Latin mōtīvum, noun use of neuter of mōtīvus

synonym study for motive

1. Motive, incentive, inducement apply to whatever moves one to action. Motive is, literally, something that moves a person; an inducement, something that leads a person on; an incentive, something that inspires a person. Motive is applied mainly to an inner urge that moves or prompts a person to action, though it may also apply to a contemplated result, the desire for which moves the person: His motive was a wish to be helpful. Inducement is never applied to an inner urge, and seldom to a goal: The pleasure of wielding authority may be an inducement to get ahead. It is used mainly of opportunities offered by the acceptance of certain conditions, whether these are offered by a second person or by the factors of the situation: The salary offered me was a great inducement. Incentive was once used of anything inspiring or stimulating the emotions or imagination: incentives to piety; it has retained of this its emotional connotations, but (rather like inducement ) is today applied only to something offered as a reward, and offered particularly to stimulate competitive activity: to create incentives for higher achievement. 2. See reason.


mo·tive·less, adjective mo·tive·less·ly, adverb mo·tive·less·ness, noun well-mo·tived, adjective

Definition for motive (2 of 2)


a combining form of motive: automotive.

Example sentences from the Web for motive

British Dictionary definitions for motive

/ (ˈməʊtɪv) /


the reason for a certain course of action, whether conscious or unconscious
a variant of motif (def. 2)


of or causing motion or action a motive force
of or acting as a motive; motivating

verb (tr)

to motivate

Derived forms of motive

motiveless, adjective motivelessly, adverb motivelessness, noun

Word Origin for motive

C14: from Old French motif, from Late Latin mōtīvus (adj) moving, from Latin mōtus, past participle of movēre to move

Medical definitions for motive

[ mōtĭv ]


An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action. learned drive


Causing or able to cause motion.