\ 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 Some take the subway in from south Brooklyn or even drive from Queens or New Jersey. Eveline Chao, Curbed, "The Chinatown Block Watch, One Year Later," 1 Apr. 2021 Rath said when the drive-in first opened, Houpt would eat there all the time. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The owner of Cedarburg's Wayne’s Drive-In and a Harley Davidson dealer in Thiensville is remembered as the community's unsung hero," 31 Mar. 2021 Bly takes pride in the district talent and has his own kiddie corps to deal with, including two starters who cannot yet drive. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "Future is bright for Mason, Moeller baseball thanks to talented underclassmen," 31 Mar. 2021 Some housed residents of the neighborhood, with its expensive real estate, were worried that the presence of the shelter would drive down property prices. Megan Evershed, The New Republic, "How an Upper West Side Hotel Came to Embody the City’s Failure on Homelessness," 31 Mar. 2021 In Texas, lawmakers want to ban drive-through voting and bar election officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for March 31: Coronavirus, voter suppression, Chauvin trial, infrastructure, Myanmar," 31 Mar. 2021 Critics say the underlying issue is that internet companies don’t want regulators to target their secret algorithms, which drive billions in profit but also can guide online users to extremist sites. Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times, "Effort to stem online extremism accidentally pushed people toward an anarchist," 30 Mar. 2021 Seat belt use, for example, has failed to lower fatal car accidents, since drivers wearing seat belts then compensate and drive faster or less carefully. Robert Klitzman, STAT, "How will people act after getting vaccinated? The complex psychology of safety," 30 Mar. 2021 Second, this approach requires non-partisan money to create answers and drive change. Megan L. Ranney, Time, "We Must Treat Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis. These 4 Steps Will Help Us Reduce Deaths," 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Texas proposal would limit some early voting hours, bar counties from setting up drive-thru voting and prohibit local officials from proactively sending applications for mail ballots before voters request them. Arkansas Online, "Pressure mounts on corporations to denounce GOP voting bills," 3 Apr. 2021 Here, four particularly scenic stretches alongside the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, ranging from a 60- to 90-minute drive from Washington, D.C. Eliza Mcgraw, WSJ, "A National Park That’s Ideal for Meditative Walks," 2 Apr. 2021 In fact, Tri Pointe Homes director of community experience, April Gringas, said a lot of their buyers are engineers at Qualcomm, which is about a 10- to 15-minute drive from many of the homes. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New San Diego single-family homes are rare, can exceed $2 million," 2 Apr. 2021 MacKay praised his defense, which limited the strong-armed Salyards and running back Cam Mulvaney to just one scoring drive., "Ashland grinds out victory over Hopkinton," 26 Mar. 2021 Even prior to the Bessemer union drive, groups of workers protested outside Amazon warehouse and shipping facilities in New York, Michigan and Illinois last year to demand safer working conditions. Washington Post, "Amazon is fighting a union drive in Alabama. In Europe, its workers are already unionized.," 25 Mar. 2021 More recently the conversation has turned to the union drive in Bessemer., "‘Taking on a behemoth like Amazon is going to take an army.’ Labor unions, inspired by Alabama drive, are joining the fight nationwide.," 22 Mar. 2021 His family have not yet released specific details about his condition, but the introduction to the fund drive indicate that Cyprian has experienced serious complications. al, "Fund drive launched to help Mobile city employee with COVID aftermath," 18 Mar. 2021 Many ski resorts are within a 30- to 60-minute drive from downtown, including Mt. Rose, Diamond Peak, and Northstar. Nina Ruggiero, Travel + Leisure, "I Took a Ski Trip to Lake Tahoe During COVID — Here’s What It Was Like," 18 Mar. 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

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 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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