motivate

verb
mo·​ti·​vate | \ ˈmō-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce motivate (audio) \
motivated; motivating

Definition of motivate

transitive verb

: to provide with a motive : impel questions that excite and motivate youth She was motivated by a desire to help children.

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Other Words from motivate

motivative \ ˈmō-​tə-​ˌvā-​tiv How to pronounce motivative (audio) \ adjective
motivator \ ˈmō-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce motivator (audio) \ noun

Examples of motivate in a Sentence

No one knows what motivated him to act in such a violent way.

Recent Examples on the Web

There are certainly institutions that are also motivated to support their customers... Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, "Consumer-Finance Watchdog: Companies Have Role in Policing Themselves," 7 Mar. 2019 After revealing his recent weight loss on Instagram earlier this month, the television star opened up to PEOPLE about what motivated him in the latest issue, on newsstands Friday. Shay Spence, PEOPLE.com, "Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Reveals How He Lost 35 Lbs.: 'I Feel So Much Better Now'," 2 July 2018 Like the players in his movies, the cast here seems motivated by some higher purpose, leaving the viewer to ponder: Who are these people? Vogue, "If You Loved The OA, You'll Love Vince's New Film for Spring ’19," 5 Feb. 2019 His main trouble has come from the Trumpian exceptions on trade, immigration and polarizing temperament that motivate many of his supporters. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Re-Election Challenge," 4 Feb. 2019 And — worth noting — the study only represents drivers who were motivated enough to send in their data and isn’t necessarily representative of the geographical distribution of Uber drivers. Rani Molla, Recode, "Half of U.S. Uber drivers make less than $10 an hour after vehicle expenses, according to a new study," 2 Oct. 2018 For those who are motivated, such independence is a boon. The Economist, "Reformists and traditionalists are at war over Russian schools," 26 May 2018 The things that drive people to subscribe to and actually open emails are very different from the things that motivate them on social media. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "The Hot New Channel for Reaching Real People: Email," 19 Jan. 2019 Michelle helped motivate me to negotiate starting pay with my company. Marie Claire, "A California Couple, a Blowout Wedding, and 2 Paychecks," 10 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'motivate.' 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 motivate

1836, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for motivate

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for motivate

The first known use of motivate was in 1836

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More Definitions for motivate

motivate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of motivate

: to give (someone) a reason for doing something
: to be a reason for (something)

motivate

verb
mo·​ti·​vate | \ ˈmō-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce motivate (audio) \
motivated; motivating

Kids Definition of motivate

: to give or be a reason for doing something Prizes motivated him to join the contest.

motivate

transitive verb
mo·​ti·​vate | \ ˈmōt-ə-ˌvāt How to pronounce motivate (audio) \
motivated; motivating

Medical Definition of motivate

: to provide with a motive or serve as a motive for motivate patients to change unhealthy lifestyles

Other Words from motivate

motivative \ -​ˌvāt-​iv How to pronounce motivative (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on motivate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with motivate

Spanish Central: Translation of motivate

Nglish: Translation of motivate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of motivate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on motivate

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