cause

noun
\ˈkȯz \

Definition of cause 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a reason for an action or condition : motive

b : something that brings about an effect or a result trying to find the cause of the accident

c : a person or thing that is the occasion of an action or state a cause for celebration especially : an agent that brings something about She is the cause of your troubles.

d : sufficient reason discharged for cause

2a : a ground of legal action

b : case They are paid by the cause for their expert opinions.

3 : a matter or question to be decided The city council is involved with school department causes.

4a : a principle or movement militantly defended or supported the insurgents' cause

b : a charitable undertaking for a good cause

cause

verb
caused; causing

Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to serve as a cause or occasion of cause an accident

2 : to compel by command, authority, or force caused him to resign

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Other Words from cause

Noun

causeless \ -​ləs \ adjective

Verb

causer noun

Examples of cause in a Sentence

Noun

His symptoms had no apparent physical causes. She is the cause of all their problems. The medicine was prescribed without good cause. Their marriage was a cause for celebration. I can support a cause that means something to me. I'm willing to donate money as long as it's for a good cause.

Verb

He swerved and caused an accident. The flood caused great hardship. The illness is caused by a virus. The flood caused the town great hardship. You caused us a lot of extra work.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

State Police found Chicklis’ body near the side of the road, officials said An autopsy was performed, but the specific cause of Chicklis’ death is being withheld, pending further investigation, according to the NH attorney general’s office. Alejandro Serrano, BostonGlobe.com, "Missing Westminster man found dead in NH," 14 July 2018 Ellenson’s shooting hasn’t helped the cause, although assistant coach Sean Sweeney defends the big man. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Coach O's words soothed Detroit Pistons' Henry Ellenson in trying year," 13 July 2018 The name of the victim has not yet been released and the cause of the accident is still being investigated, the CHP said. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Motorcyclist found dead after overnight crash on Highway 65 offramp," 13 July 2018 Most assume the causes are long hours, intrusive information technology, task overload, interpersonal conflicts and poor self-care. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018 Women who are diagnosed with chlamydia and whose symptoms don’t go away with standard antibiotic treatment may want to ask their doctors about other causes for their symptoms, Manhart adds. Amanda Macmillan, Health.com, "What Is Mycoplasma Genitalium? British Doctors Are Warning That This Sexually Transmitted Infection Could Be the Next Big Superbug," 11 July 2018 But how did the Irish, who like the Jewish people have also faced centuries of persecution, end up so sympathetic to the Palestinian cause? Sean Savage, Jewish Journal, "Ireland goes ahead with legislation to boycott products made in Israeli settlements," 12 July 2018 Though this may sound a little consolation to Democrats in the face of what looks to be a generational setback for the liberal cause, there is opportunity in this moment for the Blue Team. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Dems face big loss, big opportunity with Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 But the Republican blockade helped solidify conservative and evangelical support for Mr. Trump during the election, as many rallied to the cause of having a Republican president fill the seat. CBS News, "Man on a mission: Mitch McConnell's effort to reshape the courts," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The asbestos cases are part of more than 9,000 claims facing J&J alleging its talc products cause cancer. Tim Bross, Time, "Women Claimed Johnson & Johnson's Talc Powder Gave Them Cancer. They Just Won $4.7 Billion in Damages," 14 July 2018 Bacteria, viruses and parasites can all cause foodborne illnesses. Maggie Fox /, NBC News, "61 sick in parasite outbreak linked to McDonald's salads," 14 July 2018 Two players in particular, varsity newcomers Carson Kosonovich and Donovan Perkins, caused the most heads to turn. Steve Reaven, chicagotribune.com, "Carson Kosonovich, Donovan Perkins still shutting the door in New Trier secondary," 14 July 2018 The statement from Hill's office has caused some to question why the attorney general's office is being used to defend Hill against the allegations of misconduct. Billy Kobin, Indianapolis Star, "Governor's office halts auto-tweet policy after criticism of link to Curtis Hill statement," 13 July 2018 Although rarely fatal, the infection can cause severe nausea, fatigue and diarrhea for more than a week. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "McDonald’s Removes Salads Linked to Intestinal Parasite Outbreak in Midwest," 13 July 2018 Even a small drop on the skin of nerve agents like sarin can cause sweating and muscle twitching at point of contact. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Innovative project harnesses Legos and smartphones in the fight against invisible, deadly weapons," 13 July 2018 But growing opposition has caused the city to attempt to mollify the GOP, in accepting the convention Monday before winning it. Steve Harrison And Jim Morrill, charlotteobserver, "Why did council Democrats wait to oppose RNC? An inside look at Charlotte’s bid.," 13 July 2018 Few garments have caused as much of a media storm as that Zara jacket with its dismissive white graffiti scrawl. Robin Givhan, Houston Chronicle, "Nothing else Melania Trump wears will ever matter again," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cause.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cause

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cause

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin causa "judicial proceedings, interests of one side in a judicial case, plea, pretext, ground of action, motive, reason," of uncertain origin

Verb

Middle English causen, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French causer, borrowed from Medieval Latin causāre, causārī "to plead, accuse, blame, serve as the cause of, occasion," going back to Latin causārī "to plead an action in law, plead as an excuse," derivative of causa "judicial proceedings, plea, cause entry 1"

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Statistics for cause

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cause

The first known use of cause was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for cause

cause

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cause

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something or someone that produces an effect, result, or condition : something or someone that makes something happen or exist

: a reason for doing or feeling something

: something (such as an organization, belief, idea, or goal) that a group or people support or fight for

cause

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) happen or exist : to be the cause of (something)

: to make (someone) feel, have, or do something

cause

noun
\ˈkȯz \

Kids Definition of cause

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a person or thing that brings about a result Carelessness is the cause of many accidents.

2 : a good or good enough reason for something His return was a cause for rejoicing.

3 : something supported or deserving support a worthy cause

cause

verb
caused; causing

Kids Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 3)

: to make happen or exist You'll cause an accident.

cause

conjunction
\ˈkȯz, ˈkəz\

Kids Definition of cause (Entry 3 of 3)

cause

noun

Legal Definition of cause 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that brings about an effect or result the negligent act which was the cause of the plaintiff's injury

Note: The cause of an injury must be proven in both tort and criminal cases.

actual cause

: cause in fact in this entry

but-for cause

: cause in fact in this entry

cause in fact

: a cause without which the result would not have occurred

called also actual cause, but-for cause

concurrent cause

: a cause that joins simultaneously with another cause to produce a result

called also concurring cause

— compare intervening cause and superseding cause in this entry

direct cause

: proximate cause in this entry

efficient intervening cause

: superseding cause in this entry

intervening cause

1 : an independent cause that follows another cause in time in producing the result but does not interrupt the chain of causation if foreseeable

called also supervening cause

— compare concurrent cause and superseding cause in this entry

2 : superseding cause in this entry

legal cause

: proximate cause in this entry

procuring cause

: one (as a broker) that sets in motion a continuous series of events culminating especially in the sale or leasing of real estate entitled to a commission as the procuring cause of the sale even though the listing had expired

producing cause

: an efficient, exciting, or contributing cause (as an act, practice, or event) that produces an injury which would not have occurred without it claimed that the workplace accident was a producing cause of his disability used especially in workers' compensation and consumer protection cases

Note: A producing cause lacks the element of foreseeability associated with a proximate cause, being more exclusively concerned with causation in fact.

proximate cause

: a cause that sets in motion a sequence of events uninterrupted by any superseding causes and that results in a usually foreseeable effect (as an injury) which would not otherwise have occurred

called also direct cause, legal cause

— see also Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. — compare remote cause in this entry

remote cause

: a cause that is followed by a superseding cause interrupting the chain of causation also : a cause that in ordinary experience does not lead to a particular effect — compare proximate cause in this entry

superseding cause

: an unforeseeable intervening cause that interrupts the chain of causation and becomes the proximate cause of the effect

called also efficient intervening cause, intervening cause

— compare concurrent cause and intervening cause in this entry

supervening cause

: intervening cause in this entry

2 : a reason or justification for an action or state (as belief): as

a : good cause in this entry an appeal dismissed for cause

b : just cause in this entry behavior that constitutes cause to terminate an employee

Note: The circumstances under which cause, good cause, just cause, probable cause, reasonable cause, or sufficient cause exists are determined on a case by case basis. These terms are often used interchangeably, and the distinctions between them are sometimes unclear.

good cause

: a substantial reason put forth in good faith that is not unreasonable, arbitrary, or irrational and that is sufficient to create an excuse for an act under the law unable to show good cause for failure to pay child support neglect of duty is good cause for removal of a trustee

just cause

1 : cause that a person of ordinary intelligence would consider a fair and reasonable justification for an act used especially in cases involving termination of employment and denial of unemployment benefits

2 : good cause in this entry

probable cause \ ˈprä-​bə-​bəl-​ \

1 : a reasonable ground in fact and circumstance for a belief in the existence of certain circumstances (as that an offense has been or is being committed, that a person is guilty of an offense, that a particular search will uncover contraband, that an item to be seized is in a particular place, or that a specific fact or cause of action exists) when supported by probable cause, warrantless search of vehicle may extend to every part of vehicle where objects of search might be concealedState v. Nixon, 593 N.E.2d 1210 (1992)

called also reasonable cause, sufficient cause

— compare reasonable suspicion

Note: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.” Probable cause is also required for a warrantless arrest. Probable cause is an objective standard rather than a function of subjective opinion or suspicion not grounded in fact or circumstance. However, the facts or circumstances need not be of the nature of certainty necessary to establish proof in court.

2 : justification for an administrative search based on a showing that it is to be conducted in accordance with standardized nonarbitrary regulatory procedures designed to further public interest in regulatory enforcement that outweighs the intrusiveness of the search

reasonable cause

1 : probable cause in this entry also : a fact or circumstance that justifies a reasonable suspicion — compare reasonable suspicion

2 : a reason that would motivate a person of ordinary intelligence under the circumstances reasonable cause to believe abuse had occurred

3 : something (as an event or the exercise of ordinary care or prudence) that excuses or justifies failure to file a tax return on time

sufficient cause

: cause that is deemed enough to provide an excuse under the law: as

a : good cause in this entry often used in the phrase good and sufficient cause

b : probable cause in this entry

3a : a ground of a legal action tortious conduct is not a cause of divorce embraced within the statutory cause of cruel and inhuman treatmentCase & Comment

b : case questions of law…determinative of the cause then pending— R. T. Gerwatowski

4 in the civil law of Louisiana : the reason for making a contract — compare frustration sense 2

Note: Under the Louisiana Civil Code, if a contract's cause is illicit or immoral, the contract is absolutely null. If the cause fails after the contract is made (as when a leased building cannot be occupied because of a fire), the contract may either be not enforced or only partially enforced.

caused; causing

Legal Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to serve as the cause of the scales struck the plaintiff causing injuries for which she suesPalsgraf v. Long Island R.R. Co., 162 N.E. 99 (1928)

2 : to effect by command, authority, or force the administrator shall cause an investigation to be made

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Comments on cause

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