drive

1 of 2

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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)
The constant noise drove us batty.
The competition drove them out of business.
see also drive (someone) bananas, drive (someone) nuts,drive (someone) up the wall
c
: to urge relentlessly to continuous exertion
the sergeant drove his recruits
d
: to press or force into an activity, course, or direction
Ambition drives them to succeed.
e
: to project, inject, or impress incisively
drove her point home
6
mining : to force (a passage) by pressing or digging
drive a tunnel
7
a
: 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

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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

2 of 2

noun

plural drives
often attributive
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
2
a
: 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 worryS. H. Adams
4
a
: 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
5
a
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
6
a
: 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
7
a
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)
broadly : memory sense 4
… the disk defragmenter doesn't just defrag a given driveBarry Brenesal
see also hard drive
Phrases
drive at
: to intend to express, convey, or accomplish
couldn't understand what she was driving at
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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Watson said observing the market contractions in 2000, the financial crisis in 2008, as well as the boom period in the art market with annual sales tripling since early 2000s, drove many millennial and Gen Z wealthy Americans to have higher expectations for the financial performance of art assets. Karen K. Ho, ARTnews.com, 18 June 2024 Top-performing categories are jewelry, with uber-luxe pieces driving growth, retaining traction despite price hikes. Sofia Celeste, WWD, 18 June 2024
Noun
One of drive, skill, and physicality, and the two midfielders both possess the engine to return to their defensive positions quickly when needed. James Nalton, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2023 Potentially more significant are subsidies paid to companies that manufacture batteries in the United States, part of a drive by the Biden administration to establish a domestic supply chain and reduce dependence on China. Jack Ewing, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2023 See all Example Sentences for drive 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'drive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1685, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near drive

Cite this Entry

“Drive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drive. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

drive

1 of 2 verb
drove ˈdrōv How to pronounce drive (audio) ; driven ˈdriv-ən How to pronounce drive (audio) ; driving ˈdrī-viŋ How to pronounce drive (audio)
1
a
: to urge, push, or force onward
drive cattle
waves drove the boat ashore
b
: to cause to penetrate with force
drive a nail
2
a
: to direct the movement or course of (as a vehicle or animals drawing a vehicle)
b
: to move or transport in a vehicle
his father drove me home
3
: to set or keep in motion
drive machinery by electricity
4
: to carry through strongly
drive a bargain
5
a
: to force to act
driven by hunger to steal
b
: to project, inject, or impress forcefully
his last example drove the lesson home
6
: to bring into a specified condition
drove them out of business
7
: to force (a passage) by pressing or digging
8
: to move ahead rapidly or with great force
the rain was driving hard
9
a
: to hit (a ball or puck) with force
b
: to cause (a run or runner) to be scored in baseball
usually used with in
drove in two runs

drive

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act of driving: as
a
: a trip in a carriage or automobile
b
: a driving together of animals
c
: the guiding of logs downstream to a mill
d
: the act of driving a ball
e
: the flight of a ball
2
a
b
: a public road (as in a park) for driving
3
: a long or forceful campaign
a charity drive
4
a
: an urgent or basic need or longing
b
: energetic quality
full of drive
5
a
: the means for giving motion to a machine or machine part
a chain drive
b
: the means by which the movement of an automotive vehicle is controlled and directed
front wheel drive
6
: a device for reading or writing data (as on magnetic tape or disks)

Medical Definition

drive

noun
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

More from Merriam-Webster on drive

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