\ 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 The bill includes additional help for part-time workers and those who drive for Uber, deliver for Grubhub, or otherwise participate in the gig economy., "Senate Democrats propose sweeping overhaul of unemployment programs that were rocked by pandemic fallout," 14 Apr. 2021 The idea was to slow them down and drive home the lesson not to leave anybody behind. USA Today, "‘Most humiliating punishment imaginable’: Black National Guardsman allegedly forced to wear heavy chain," 14 Apr. 2021 Wright loved to goof around, play sports and drive the car he had just been given by a family member, relatives and family friends said at a news conference Tuesday. Eric Ferkenhoff, USA TODAY, "'He did not deserve this': Family remembers Daunte Wright as an adoring dad who enjoyed playing sports and celebrating the Fourth of July," 14 Apr. 2021 Health officials are finding that younger people who haven’t been vaccinated are helping drive new cases. WSJ, "Covid-19 Live Updates: Newly Reported U.S. Cases Rise After Dipping," 13 Apr. 2021 Capital Economics, a consultancy, predicts that the combination of base effects and a boomy reopening will drive the headline annual rate of inflation close to 4% by May. The Economist, "Pricing in pricing out American inflation shoots up to 2.6%," 13 Apr. 2021 The buses were not there to drive the Spurs back to the team hotel, or to the airport to catch a flight to the next city on their road itinerary. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio Spurs aim to keep winning streak going - in Tampa?," 13 Apr. 2021 Ky’s work ethic and drive to be great is second to none. oregonlive, "Oregon high school spring season preview: Highlighting standout baseball players," 13 Apr. 2021 People don’t hold grudges or let their frustrations drive their behaviors. Jenn Lofgren, Forbes, "Accountability And The Roles We All Play," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During the union drive, workers spoke out about aggressive performance goals, low wages and an overheated workplace. Washington Post, "Bezos acknowledges Amazon needs to do ‘a better job’ for employees after union vote," 15 Apr. 2021 While Amazon resoundingly defeated a union drive in Alabama, the matter is far from over as a push for a second election looms. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "End of Alabama battle could be months away as union plots Amazon challenge," 15 Apr. 2021 Upon the election result, the RWDSU immediately called for an investigation into Amazon’s conduct during the union drive, accusing the company of unlawfully interfering with the right of employees to engage in union activity. William Thornton |, al, "After Amazon Bessemer vote, what’s next for unions?," 15 Apr. 2021 Amazon has been aggressively campaigning against the union drive, sending workers texts urging them to vote no, holding mandatory meetings to dissuade unionization, even putting anti-union signs on bathroom stall doors., "Amazon union vote raises questions for labor advocates," 10 Apr. 2021 According to Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is behind the Bessemer union drive, the NLRB received 3,215 ballots. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, "Amazon gains enough votes to defeat union drive at Alabama warehouse," 9 Apr. 2021 In 2014, a small group of technical workers responsible for maintaining and repairing equipment at an Amazon warehouse in Middletown, Del., mounted a union drive. Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times, "Amazon unionization efforts dealt a blow after Alabama vote," 9 Apr. 2021 What Amazon’s victory means for organizing efforts The union drive did succeed in increasing other warehouse workers’ interest in organizing—more than 1,000 Amazon workers have contacted RWDSU about following in Bessemer’s footsteps in recent weeks. Sarah Todd, Quartz, "How Amazon beat the union vote in Bessemer, Alabama," 9 Apr. 2021 The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which led the union drive in Bessemer, declined to comment because votes are currently being tallied. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Amazon apologizes for denying that its drivers pee in bottles," 5 Apr. 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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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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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