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1

motive

play
noun mo·tive \ˈmō-tiv, 2 is also mō-ˈtēv\

Simple Definition of motive

  • : a reason for doing something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of motive

  1. 1 :  something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act

  2. 2 :  a recurrent phrase or figure that is developed through the course of a musical composition

  3. 3 :  motif

motiveless

play \-ləs\ adjective

motivelessly

adverb

motivic

play \mō-ˈtē-vik\ adjective

Examples of motive in a sentence

  1. Their motive in running away was to avoid being punished.

  2. I think he's guilty of the crime. He had the motive, the means, and the opportunity.

  3. She denied that her offer to help was based on selfish motives.



Origin and Etymology of motive

Middle English, from Anglo-French motif, motive, from motif, adjective, moving, from Medieval Latin motivus, from Latin motus, past participle of movēre to move


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of motive

motive, impulse, incentive, inducement, spur, goad mean a stimulus to action. motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act <a motive for the crime>. impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution <buying on impulse>. incentive applies to an external influence (as an expected reward) inciting to action <a bonus was offered as an incentive>. inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another <offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe>. spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor <fear was a spur to action>. goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire <thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency>.

2

motive

play
adjective mo·tive \ˈmō-tiv\

Simple Definition of motive

  • : of, relating to, or causing motion

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of motive

  1. 1 :  of or relating to motion or the causing of motion <motive energy>

  2. 2 :  moving or tending to move to action

Origin and Etymology of motive

Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French motif, from Medieval Latin motivus


First Known Use: 14th century


3

motive

play
verb mo·tive \ˈmō-tiv\

Definition of motive

motived

motiving

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  motivate



1657

First Known Use of motive

1657



MOTIVE Defined for Kids

1

motive

play
noun mo·tive \ˈmō-tiv\

Definition of motive for Students

  1. :  a reason for doing something




2

motive

play
adjective mo·tive

Definition of motive for Students

  1. :  causing motion <motive power>




Medical Dictionary

motive

play
noun mo·tive \ˈmōt-iv\

Medical Definition of motive

  1. :  something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act




Law Dictionary

motive

noun mo·tive

Legal Definition of motive

  1. :  something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act



Additional Notes on motive

Motive is distinguished from intent or mens rea. Although motive is not an element of a crime, evidence of motive can be introduced to help establish intent.

Origin and Etymology of motive

Anglo-French motif, from Middle French motif adjective, moving, from Medieval Latin motivus, from Latin motus, past participle of movēre to move



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