English Dictionary

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motive (ˈməʊtɪv Pronunciation for motive



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


  1. of or causing motion or action   ⇒ a motive force
  2. of or acting as a motive; motivating

verb (transitive)

  1. to motivate

Derived Forms

ˈmotiveless adjective
ˈmotivelessly adverb
ˈmotivelessness noun

Word Origin

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


View thesaurus entry
= moving, driving, motivating, operative, activating, impelling

Translations for 'motive'

  • British English: motivePronunciation for motive Your motive for doing something is your reason for doing it.What motive could he have for lying?ˈməʊtɪv NOUN
  • Arabic: حَافِزٌPronunciation for حَافِزٌ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: motivoPronunciation for motivo
  • Chinese: 动机Pronunciation for 动机
  • Croatian: motivPronunciation for motiv
  • Czech: motivPronunciation for motiv
  • Danish: motivPronunciation for motiv
  • Dutch: motiefPronunciation for motief
  • European Spanish: motivoPronunciation for motivo
  • Finnish: motiiviPronunciation for motiivi
  • French: mobilePronunciation for mobileraison
  • German: MotivPronunciation for Motiv
  • Greek: κίνητροPronunciation for κίνητρο
  • Italian: motivoPronunciation for motivo
  • Japanese: 動機Pronunciation for 動機
  • Korean: 동기Pronunciation for 동기장려금
  • Norwegian: motivPronunciation for motiv
  • Polish: motywPronunciation for motyw
  • Portuguese: motivoPronunciation for motivo
  • Romanian: motiv motive
  • Russian: мотивPronunciation for мотивпобуждение
  • Spanish: motivoPronunciation for motivo
  • Swedish: motivPronunciation for motiv
  • Thai: เหตุจูงใจPronunciation for เหตุจูงใจ
  • Turkish: sebepPronunciation for sebep
  • Ukrainian: мотив
  • Vietnamese: động cơPronunciation for động cơ

Example Sentences Including 'motive'

They were weirdos and perverts, whereas he was driven by a motive far more pure.
Sunny realized uneasily that she had a very good motive for murdering Pete herself.
Babson, Marian Death in Fashion
Thus, in the complex evolution of a craft's progression, serious terrorism would now be based on a for-profit motive.
Terman, Douglas Cormorant


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