\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

Bredesen has identified more than three dozen mechanisms that amplify the biological processes that drive the disease. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 These research cars are driving all over the city in autonomous mode while collecting high-definition mapping data. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Ford teaming up with Walmart and Postmates on robot deliveries," 14 Nov. 2018 The 2018 roster looks to be just as star power-driven, with a lengthy list of performers set to bring their musical talents to the fashion show. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Shawn Mendes, Halsey, and The Chainsmokers Will Perform at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2018," 1 Nov. 2018 The bickering eventually drove Gibbs to leave his retreat behind in search of a robber that was reported loose in the area, according to Entertainment Weekly. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'NCIS' Fans Are Stirring Up a Lot of Drama About Agent Gibbs After Last Night's Episode," 17 Oct. 2018 Color—partially because every conversation at Neiman Marcus begins with color and our customer is very color-driven. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "This Is What a Dream Apartment by Neiman Marcus's Ken Downing Looks Like," 15 Oct. 2018 Oil had fallen for 12 straight days as of Tuesday, driven by worries over rising oil production around the world and weakening demand from developing countries. Alex Veiga, The Seattle Times, "Energy companies lead US stocks higher as oil prices rebound," 14 Nov. 2018 In 2017, the US market expanded by 40 percent, to $1.16 billion, with a lot of that growth driven by Juul. Julia Belluz, Vox, "The FDA may soon ban flavored vapes and menthol cigarettes," 14 Nov. 2018 Ceres also had a peak, a towering mountain that researchers think was an ice volcano, driven by salty water and mud instead of magma. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is dead," 1 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As a base, most tourists use the town of Phong Nha, about an hour drive from the nearest airport, Dong Hoi, which can be reached via multiple daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi ( Patrick Scott, WSJ, "A Blow-Your-Mind Adventure in Vietnam’s Caves," 13 Nov. 2018 Work is exactly what my eyes do during the five-hour drive from the Hoanib Valley to the Skeleton Coast. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Your Next Safari Should Be in Namibia," 6 Nov. 2018 The estate is also an hour's drive from Meghan's new home with Prince Harry. Araceli Cruz, Teen Vogue, "Meghan Markle’s Mom Doria Ragland Reportedly Invited to Christmas at Sandringham," 5 Nov. 2018 Crystal City is also an 11 minute drive to Capitol Hill without much traffic. Rani Molla, Recode, "What we know about Amazon’s potential new Virginia HQ2 location," 3 Nov. 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona Tucked into a quiet neighborhood against the backdrop of Camelback Mountain, Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa is a five-minute drive to the city’s downtown. Vogue, "Style Meets Substance—The 7 Must-Visit Shopping Neighborhoods Around the Globe," 24 Oct. 2018 Photo by Carmen Troesser Photographer Carmen Troesser and her family live in a regal 1880 Victorian built in St. Charles, Missouri, just a two-hour drive from her hometown of Frankenstein. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "5 Victorian homes to get you in the mood for fall," 1 Oct. 2018 LoanMart Field, previously known as the Epicenter, is a three-mile drive east of Interstate 10. Howard Cole,, "Take me out to a Quakes game on a weekend escape to Rancho Cucamonga," 12 July 2018 According to the teenager, Perez involved him in two drive-by shootings that targeted a neighbor. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Teen accomplice details how Victoria mosque went up in flames," 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

3 Dec 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

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