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)

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)
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
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 worry S. 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 obstacles Times 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 drive Barry 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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Already, climate change has helped to drive the annual number of ocean heatwave days up 54% in the period from 1925 to 2016, a team of international scientists found in 2018. Fox News, 15 Nov. 2022 Some thought the move would drive more conservative voters to the polls at a time before Roe v. Wade was overturned. Dylan Lovan, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Nov. 2022 Madigan said proximity to Metro will allow his firm to recruit employees from across the area, including those who don’t want to drive to Loudoun to be in the office. Ian Duncan, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2022 To drive to the Secret Slickrock trailhead, continue on Chavez Ranch Road to the trailhead a few yards past the FR 788A junction at a road gate. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 12 Nov. 2022 Pivoting to health service offerings helps drive consumers to its thousands of retail stores across the U.S. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 11 Nov. 2022 Afterward, Amerson knocked Sharita unconscious, used Patrice’s car to drive Sharita to Cameron Hill Road, dumped her, and—after backtracking to Patrice’s house to retrieve his car—returned to run the body over, Herring alleged. John H. Tucker, Popular Mechanics, 10 Nov. 2022 But an initiative on this week’s ballot, if approved, would rename Port Hueneme as Hueneme Beach in an attempt by the City Council to drive attention (and tourist money) to the small strip of sand on the city’s southern edge. Christian Martinezstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2022 Danny Ruiz made the decision to drive over to the store right at the final out. Josh Criswell, Chron, 6 Nov. 2022
Noun
Front-wheel drive models have 194 horsepower and accelerate to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Mark Phelan, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2022 Late on a Sunday night, Ellsworth Fortman, an assistant chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department, walked out of Marci’s Sports Bar and Grill in Santa Clarita and climbed into his Dodge Ram pickup truck for the drive home. Paul Pringlestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 The Moreland Hills School drive will allow at least eight veterans to participate this year. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, 18 Nov. 2022 Stewart’s easy-going style that belies the drive beneath his big, easy smile. The Indianapolis Star, 17 Nov. 2022 Local community colleges throughout San Diego County are working with California Coast Credit Union, the North County Food Bank and the San Diego Food Bank for the fourth annual Pack the Pantry food drive. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 The bigger engine means total power output has gone up to 194 hp (145 kW) for front-wheel drive variants and 196 hp (146 kW) for all-wheel drive versions. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 17 Nov. 2022 All-wheel drive comes standard on all but the S trim. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 17 Nov. 2022 Front-wheel drive models have 194 horsepower and accelerate to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 17 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 1c

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 1 Dec. 2022.

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
noise enough to drive a person crazy
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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