\ ˈdrīv How to pronounce drive (audio) \
drove\ ˈdrōv How to pronounce drive (audio) \; driven\ ˈdri-​vən How to pronounce drive (audio) \; driving\ ˈdrī-​viŋ How to pronounce drive (audio) \

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 The school held a food drive [=an event to collect food items for donation] to benefit the local shelter.
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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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

Verb 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. Noun 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 So that’s why four Vogue editors (myself included) jumped at the chance to test drive Entireworld’s brand-new leggings line, which launches today. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "We Love Entireworld’s Just-Launched Leggings—Here are 4 Ways to Wear Them," 25 Feb. 2021 Over time, officials believe this could drive up season ticket numbers, which accounted for less than half of Ohio Stadium’s 102,780-seat capacity in 2019. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football tapping season tickets for more athletics revenue beginning in 2022," 25 Feb. 2021 Those are some of the same personality traits that drive perfectionism, and can show up in low achievers and high achievers alike. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Go Ahead and Fail," 25 Feb. 2021 As part of his ambitious climate agenda, Biden has supported policies that would drive down demand for natural gas, at least domestically. Sammy Roth Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "How far will Biden go to fix the climate crisis? Pay attention to this gas project," 24 Feb. 2021 Williams, 26, was arrested Sunday following a police chase after the drive-by shooting of first responders. Nora Mishanec, San Francisco Chronicle, "DA files murder, assault charges on man who shot at first responders in Contra Costa," 24 Feb. 2021 Another authorized vaccine, and especially one that only requires one dose, could block the spread of the virus more effectively and drive down cases faster. New York Times, "Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine Works Well and May Curb Virus Spread," 24 Feb. 2021 For the drive-through voting, people pull up, show their driver’s licenses to town workers in protective gear and vote with thumbs up or down. Don Stacom,, "Without clear state guidance, Connecticut towns consider how to hold budget votes during coronavirus pandemic," 24 Feb. 2021 Researchers at the University of Cambridge, for instance, have found that worry about climate change has led to behavioral changes that may actually drive solutions to the problem. Allison Hope, CNN, "Yes, pandemic paranoia is real, experts say," 23 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The clothing drive last year was in lieu of the regular fundraisers., "Community News For The Hebron Edition," 26 Feb. 2021 The combination of official carrots and sticks to reach the rest reflects the challenges facing the country in its race toward herd immunity — and also the fact that the vaccination drive is a political as well as medical imperative. Dina Kraft, Los Angeles Times, "Israel turns to carrots, and maybe some sticks, to persuade COVID-19 vaccine holdouts," 26 Feb. 2021 For me, there's been two drives, the career drive of me being practical about my life, and actually paying mortgage, and raising a family, and clinical research is that path. Clark Collis,, "The Vigil director talks about his Jewish horror movie, teases Firestarter remake," 25 Feb. 2021 Hope said there also would be an online drive for individual donors to contribute. al, "Restoration work to begin soon on Mobile’s Bienville Square," 24 Feb. 2021 Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "472-HP 2022 Lexus IS500 F Sport Brings the 5.0L V-8 Back to the IS," 22 Feb. 2021 Our all-time favorite Dyson cleaner is the V11 Torque drive cordless free stick vacuum. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Dyson vacuum cleaners are up to $120 off at Bed Bath & Beyond right now," 18 Feb. 2021 What would normally be a 15-minute drive across downtown turned into 1.5 hours as a result of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Alyssa Fernandez, Dallas News, "Extreme arctic-like weather has stalled highways, stranded travelers, caused crashes in North Texas over the years," 15 Feb. 2021 When Greg Gecas grew up on Gunflint Lake, electrical service was shaky and the 47-mile drive to Grand Marais was a three-hour trek that included stops for car sickness. Star Tribune, "Storied Gunflint Trail hints of change," 12 Feb. 2021

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

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for drive

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for drive

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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
used in the name of some public roads abbr. Dr.


\ ˈdrīv How to pronounce drive (audio) \
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 How to pronounce drive (audio) \

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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