cause

noun
\ ˈkȯz How to pronounce cause (audio) \

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 \ ˈkȯz-​ləs How to pronounce causeless (audio) \ 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 The bigger cause, the report noted, is that three major federal programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — consume ever larger shares of the budget. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Why the U.S. may soon spend more on its debt than on kids," 17 Sep. 2019 Mass incarceration has become a cause for national concern—even Donald Trump finds it in his interest to brag about his role in effecting reform, however limited. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "Power of Attorney," 16 Sep. 2019 The Cook County medical examiner has not yet confirmed the cause of death, and the incident was being investigated by the Cook County forest preserve’s police. Alice Yin, chicagotribune.com, "Off-duty Chicago police officer dies in apparent suicide, police say," 16 Sep. 2019 Water access is emerging as a lead cause of regional conflict, especially as scarce water falls under the control of rogue black markets. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Blood-Dimmed Tide," 16 Sep. 2019 Despite voters’ rejection of a rent-control initiative in November 2018, lawmakers pushed through a statewide rent cap and just-cause eviction rules. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "California housing, guns, criminal justice reform: Focus shifts to Gavin Newsom," 15 Sep. 2019 The remains will be removed Sunday and a necropsy will be performed Monday to determine cause of death, the state said. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "A whale washed ashore in Maryland and citizens attempted to push it back into the water," 15 Sep. 2019 When the organization launched the Hunger Project, which sought to end world hunger, Julia embraced the cause, fasting one day every month and plugging the Hunger Project in his Playbill bios. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "The Blazing Path and Legacy of Raul Julia," 13 Sep. 2019 McNair has been out of football for nine years—he was caught up in the Reggie Bush scandal at USC after seven years as running backs coach there, and dealt a show-cause penalty by the NCAA. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Mike Zimmer and the Vikings May Deserve More Hype This Season Than Last," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb United wasn’t the first team to cause the Timbers problems at Providence Park this season by conceding possession, packing numbers into the box and forcing Portland to try to break them down. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Portland Timbers’ attack continues to struggle against bunkering opponents," 17 Sep. 2019 At the same time, meteorologists are watching two storms in the Atlantic that have the potential to cause damage in the Caribbean. NBC News, "Tropical Storm Imelda targets Texas as Hurricane Humberto looms in the Atlantic," 17 Sep. 2019 This isn’t the case for Tom Yendell and Peter Longstaff, both of whom were born without arms after their mothers took a pregnancy drug later proven to cause birth defects. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Inside the Brains of Artists Who Paint With Their Feet," 17 Sep. 2019 For more than 137 years, The Times has operated under the radical idea that Mexican food is a part of this country’s fabric instead of a foreign cuisine with the propensity to cause Montezuma’s revenge. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "For over 137 years, no newspaper has covered Mexican food better than the L.A. Times," 17 Sep. 2019 Saturday's attack comes after weeks of similar drone assaults on the kingdom's oil infrastructure, but none of the earlier strikes appeared to have caused the same amount of damage. Fox News, "Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities," 15 Sep. 2019 Even the arrangements for the dead despot’s funeral have been causing confusion, consternation and bad blood. The Economist, "Even in death, Robert Mugabe worries his successor," 14 Sep. 2019 But Klopp has hinted that Fabinho will actually start at Anfield against Steve Bruce's Newcastle United, who will be looking to cause another upset just weeks after their narrow win away at Tottenham. SI.com, "Jurgen Klopp Hints at Fabinho Availability After Arriving Back at Liverpool Late From Brazil Duty," 14 Sep. 2019 These allergies are believed to cause more deaths from anaphylaxis — an acute physiological response that includes lowered blood pressure, shock and constriction of the airways — than any other food allergy, though the precise number is not known. BostonGlobe.com, "The drug’s goal is not to cure the allergy, but to reduce the risk that an accidental exposure to small amounts of peanut will trigger a life-threatening reaction. It might also relieve some of the fear and anxiety of many families struggling to cope with a child’s severe peanut allergy.," 14 Sep. 2019

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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More Definitions for cause

cause

noun
How to pronounce cause (audio)

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 How to pronounce cause (audio) \

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.
\ ˈkȯz How to pronounce cause (audio) , 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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More from Merriam-Webster on cause

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cause

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cause

Spanish Central: Translation of cause

Nglish: Translation of cause for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cause for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cause

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