\ˈdrīv \
drove\ˈdrōv \; driven\ˈdri-vən \; driving\ˈdrī-viŋ \

Definition of drive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to frighten or prod (game, cattle, etc.) into moving in a desired direction drive cattle across the prairie

b hunting : to go through (an area) driving game animals drive the other side of the mountain

2 : to carry on or through energetically drives a hard bargain

3a : to impart a forward motion to by physical force Waves drove the boat ashore. drive the nail into the beam

b : to repulse, remove, or cause to go by force, authority, or influence drive the enemy back

c : to set or keep in motion or operation drive machinery by electricity

d basketball : to move quickly and forcefully down or along drive the lane drive the baseline

4a : to direct the motions and course of (a draft animal) drive an ox

b : to operate the mechanism and controls and direct the course of (a vehicle) drive a car

c : to convey in a vehicle His father drove me home.

d : to float (logs) down a stream

5a : to exert inescapable or coercive pressure on : force driven by his passions

b : to compel to undergo or suffer a change (as in situation or emotional state) drove him crazy drove her out of business

c : to urge relentlessly to continuous exertion the sergeant drove his recruits

d : to press or force into an activity, course, or direction The drug habit drives addicts to steal.

e : to project, inject, or impress incisively drove her point home

6 mining : to force (a passage) by pressing or digging drive a tunnel

7a : to propel (an object of play) swiftly or forcefully drove a long fly ball to the warning track

b golf : to hit (a ball) from the tee especially with a driver (see driver sense f) drove the ball down the fairway also : to drive a golf ball onto (a green)

c baseball : to cause (a run or runner) to be scored (see score entry 2 sense 4a(2)) usually used with in drove him in with a single

8 : to give shape or impulse to factors that drive the business cycle the ideas that have driven history

intransitive verb

1a : to dash, plunge, or surge ahead rapidly or violently rudely drove past her

b : to progress with strong momentum the rain was driving hard

c basketball : to make a quick and forceful move driving to the hoop

2a : to operate a vehicle learned to drive at the age of seventeen

b : to have oneself carried in a vehicle drove to Canada as a kid

3 golf : to drive a golf ball drove down the fairway

drive at

: to intend to express, convey, or accomplish couldn't understand what she was driving at


noun, often attributive

Definition of drive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of driving:

a : a trip in a carriage or automobile a short drive to the coast

b : an instance of collecting and moving animals (such as game or cattle) together in a desired direction also : the animals gathered and driven (see drive entry 1 sense transitive 1a)

c : a driving of cattle or sheep overland

d : a hunt or shoot in which the game is driven within the hunter's range

e : the guiding of logs downstream to a mill also : the floating logs amassed in a drive

f(1) : the act or an instance of propelling an object of play (such as a golf ball) swiftly or forcefully

(2) : the flight of a ball a high drive to left field

2a : a private road : driveway

b : a public road for driving (as in a park)

3 : the state of being hurried and under pressure elude the ruthless drive of work and worry— S. H. Adams

4a : a strong systematic group effort a fund-raising drive

b : a sustained offensive (see offensive entry 1 sense 1) effort the drive ended in a touchdown

5a mechanical engineering : the means for giving motion to a machine or machine part

b : the means by which the propulsive power of an automobile is applied to the road front wheel drive

c : the means by which the propulsion of an automotive vehicle is controlled and directed a left-hand drive

6a : an offensive, aggressive, or expansionist move especially : a strong military attack against enemy-held terrain

b basketball : a quick and aggressive move toward the basket

7a biology : an urgent, basic, or instinctual need : a motivating physiological condition of an organism a sexual drive

b : an impelling culturally acquired concern, interest, or longing the drive to succeed

c : dynamic quality his drive and enthusiasm overcame all obstaclesTimes Literary Supplement

8 computers : a device for reading or writing on magnetic, optical, or electronic media (such as tapes, disks, or flash memory)

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Other Words from drive


drivability or less commonly driveability \ˌdrī-və-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
drivable or less commonly driveable \ˈdrī-və-bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for drive


move, actuate, drive, impel mean to set or keep in motion. move is very general and implies no more than the fact of changing position. moved the furniture actuate stresses transmission of power so as to work or set in motion. turbines actuated by waterpower drive implies imparting forward and continuous motion and often stresses the effect rather than the impetus. a ship driven aground by hurricane winds impel is usually figurative and suggests a great motivating impetus. a candidate impelled by ambition

Examples of drive in a Sentence


He drove the car down a bumpy road. Do you want to drive or should I? He is learning to drive. The car stopped and then drove off. A car drove by us slowly. The bus slowly drove away. We drove all night and arrived at dawn. We drove 160 miles to get here. I drive on this route every day. I drive this route every day.


It's a two-hour drive to the beach. Her house is an hour's drive east of Los Angeles. We took a pleasant drive in the country. Would you like to go for a drive? A white car was parked in the drive.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Officials were alerted to the vandalism spree after receiving a report from a man who was driving down South Avenue at 12:56 a.m., Whitman police said in a statement. Elise Takahama,, "Two men arrested in car vandalism spree in Whitman," 14 July 2018 Trump also spent the visit hailing Britain's vote to leave the European Union, and drawing parallels between Brexit voters and the anger driving his own presidential campaign. Jill Colvin And Paul Kelbie,, "Trump lies low in Scotland ahead of high-stakes meeting with Putin," 14 July 2018 Officials said Hevel was driving approximately 90 mph down Glendale Avenue in the early morning hours of September 22, 2017. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Former Navajo Nation police officer sentenced to 16 years in prison for fatal DUI crash," 14 July 2018 Riley immediately stops, gets back in the front seat, and drives her home. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "Eighth Grade Is Awkward, Heartbreaking, and Beautiful—Just Like Your Middle School Experience," 13 July 2018 As for the boulders, Berrada said they're placed to prevent tenantsfrom driving on the lawn. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018 Kelli Vey, the district manager for the Fairbanks area, sees people in summer and winter alike hopping out of their cars to snap photos and then drive off. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s last 2 Blockbuster stores are closing, leaving just one in the U.S.," 13 July 2018 One is that the system will not be able to heal itself from within — true improvement will come only from innovative new entrants driving creative destruction from the outside. Alexi Nazem, STAT, "Health care needs more physician CEOs like Atul Gawande," 13 July 2018 Police said Curry allegedly drove around in his car and shot at victims with a handgun. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Suspect in Austin shooting spree had ties to Texas politics," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The petition drive to put Mr. Liu on the ballot was first reported by the New York Post. New York Times, "John Liu Plots a Comeback Trail, Targeting a Renegade Democrat," 13 July 2018 After the petition drive, Google employees are debating whether, when and how to go public in the future. Joseph Menn, The Christian Science Monitor, "Silicon Valley employees increasingly push companies on ethics," 13 July 2018 The group also has started a toy and sweater drive for them. Yutao Chen,, "For detained immigrant children: pillows stuffed with love," 13 July 2018 Highly motivated to learn and make an impact in his field, Nathan has lost the drive to keep goose stepping to the graduation finish line. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018 Five miles south, in the Balham district, builders driving white Ford vans idle outside the Plumb and Parts Centre on Zennor Road, a 40-minute drive and a world away from the luxury stores of the West End. Fortune, "This Is London's Hottest Property — Thanks to Amazon," 13 July 2018 But the increasing power of artificial intelligence to scan faces, drive cars, and predict crime, among other things, have given birth to research institutes, industry groups, and philanthropic programs. Scott Thurm, WIRED, "Microsoft Calls For Federal Regulation of Facial Recognition," 13 July 2018 In addition to tailing him on the trail, Karl Meltzer: Made to Be Broken gets into AT culture and the masochistic drive that pushes speed hikers. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "The Newest Adventure Movies You Can Watch Right Now," 12 July 2018 The narrative drive lost some energy, as plot twists were recycled, and as the near misses and close calls piled up. Matthew Gilbert,, "There’s Emmy drama in the face-off between two of this year’s very best," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'drive.' 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 drive


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for drive


Middle English, from Old English drīfan; akin to Old High German trīban to drive


see drive entry 1

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Statistics for drive

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for drive

The first known use of drive was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for drive



English Language Learners Definition of drive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to direct the movement of (a car, truck, bus, etc.)

of a car, truck, etc. : to move in a specified manner or direction

: to travel in a car



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

: a journey in a car

: a hard area or small road outside of a house where cars can be parked

: an effort made by a group of people to achieve a goal, to collect money, etc.


\ˈdrīv \
drove\ˈdrōv \; driven\ˈdri-vən \; driving\ˈdrī-viŋ \

Kids Definition of drive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to direct the movement of drive a car

2 : to go or carry in a vehicle drive into town Mom drove me to school.

3 : to move using force … he used his greater strength to drive the young mouse backwards.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

4 : to push in with force drive a nail

5 : to set or keep in motion or operation The machines are driven by electricity.

6 : to carry through drive a bargain

7 : to force to work or to act The peasants were driven by hunger to steal.

8 : to bring into a particular condition That noise is driving me crazy!

Other Words from drive

driver \ˈdrī-vər \ noun



Kids Definition of drive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a trip in a vehicle

2 : driveway

3 : an often scenic public road

4 : an organized effort to achieve a goal a fund-raising drive

5 : a strong natural need or desire the drive to eat

6 : energy and determination to succeed

7 : an act of leading animals in a group to another place a cattle drive

8 : the means for making a machine or machine part move

9 : a device in a computer that can read information off and copy information onto disks or tape a disk drive


\ˈdrīv \

Medical Definition of drive 

1 : an urgent, basic, or instinctual need : a motivating physiological condition of the organism a sexual drive

2 : an impelling culturally acquired concern, interest, or longing a drive for perfection

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More from Merriam-Webster on drive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for drive

Spanish Central: Translation of drive

Nglish: Translation of drive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drive for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about drive

Comments on drive

What made you want to look up drive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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