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 \ ˈkȯz-​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

Militants chased out government forces, overran the camp, set it on fire and distributed propaganda photos such as this one to promote their cause. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "America’s Other Endless War: Battling al-Shabaab in Somalia," 17 Jan. 2019 The Duchess is delighted to become Patron of both national and grassroots organizations that are part of the fabric of the UK, and is very much looking forward to working with them to bring wider public attention to their causes. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Meghan Markle’s New Royal Responsibilities Are a Perfect Fit," 10 Jan. 2019 Protest organizers argued that the page removal and initial media reports of the Facebook purge hurt their cause by suggesting that their work was illegitimate or the result of Russian influence. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "How Russia exploited racial tensions in America during the 2016 elections," 17 Dec. 2018 Her cause of death was dehydration and complications related to HIV. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, "Roxsana Hernández, a 33-Year-Old Honduran Trans Woman, Died in ICE Custody Amid Concerns She Was Abused," 4 Dec. 2018 Since then, Kjellberg has continued to highlight and praise fans who are lobbying for his cause. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "PewDiePie’s fans are fighting hard to ensure he remains the biggest YouTuber," 14 Nov. 2018 Here, on streets designed for the fast movement of cars, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for kids aged 4 to 15. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Safe streets are the best tool we have to combat climate change," 10 Oct. 2018 Their cause has long been championed by Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, who has called Francis' deal a sell-out of the church to China's Communist rulers. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Pope acknowledges China bishop deal will cause suffering," 25 Sep. 2018 Doctors may not be on the lookout for it as a cause of food poisoning, the FDA said. Maggie Fox /, NBC News, "61 sick in parasite outbreak linked to McDonald's salads," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Endometriosis can cause scar tissue that might make organs, including those in the reproductive system, begin to stick together, impeding their function. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "How Does Endometriosis Impact Fertility?," 8 Feb. 2019 Last week, while trying to upgrade their toilet facility, the ISS crew accidentally caused a water leak on the station. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "ISS Suffers Toilet Malfunction, Leaks Water Everywhere," 6 Feb. 2019 However, overdoing it on the fluoride at an early age can also cause a condition called dental fluorosis, or when the teeth undermineralize. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Your Kids Are Probably Using Too Much Toothpaste, And It’s Hurting Their Teeth," 6 Feb. 2019 The Monday morning shooting caused the hospital to go on lockdown. David Mcfadden, The Seattle Times, "Police: Jilted lover opened fire outside Baltimore hospital," 5 Feb. 2019 Too much fertilizer can cause weak growth that’s susceptible to pests and diseases. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Annuals vs. Perennials: Everything You Need to Know," 1 Feb. 2019 Watching any footage from DaniLeigh’s shows can cause major FOMO. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "DaniLeigh Took the Best Advice from Prince—to Be Herself as an Artist," 31 Jan. 2019 According to Hello Magazine, Harry caused quite the security snafu back in the day, thanks to a GPS error. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Lost His GPS Tracker as a Kid, Triggering a High Security Alert," 27 Jan. 2019 If it isn’t treated, the condition can cause blindness. Corinne Abrams, WSJ, "Google’s Effort to Prevent Blindness Shows AI Challenges," 26 Jan. 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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Statistics for cause

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on cause

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cause

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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