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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from motivate

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

Examples of motivate in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Waking up before dawn wasn’t (and still isn’t) easy, but having some financial incentives helped motivate me to commit to this routine early on. Julia Sullivan, SELF, "How I Went From Hating Exercise to Becoming a Fitness Instructor in 5 Years," 3 May 2019 For a felon motivated by greed, as her prosecutors put it, Boone has surprising sides. Town & Country, "Mary Boone Is Taking a Break," 18 Apr. 2019 Variety and selection of goods was close behind as a motivating factor, at 74%. Heather Haddon, WSJ, "With a Pinch of Innovation, Food Makers Raise Prices," 19 Dec. 2018 Those conversations were one of the motivating factors behind her decision to launch her own firm, Athena Capital, last fall. Morgen Peck, Glamour, "Cryptocurrency Is Not Just a Boys' Club," 11 Dec. 2018 Opposition to Trump proved to be more a motivating factor for Democrats than support for the president a factor for Republicans. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "AP VoteCast: Trump a dominant force on voters’ minds," 7 Nov. 2018 The urgency to innovate is part of what’s motivating CIOs to take on culture change at their companies, said Graham Waller, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Inc.’s digital business leadership research team. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "State Street CIO Sparks Culture Change Around Problem-Solving," 28 Mar. 2019 Shanti Hodges has written a new book to help motivate families to get on the trail—and find the one that's perfect for them When Shanti Hodges hits the road next month to promote her new book, Hike It Baby! Katie Arnold, Outside Online, "Hiking with Young Kids? Follow These Tips," 26 June 2018 That realization helped frame the entire session and motivated me to finally understand time. Gia Miller, SELF, "Hiring a Coach for My ADHD Transformed My Life and Productivity," 27 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of motivate

1836, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about motivate

Statistics for motivate

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for motivate

The first known use of motivate was in 1836

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on motivate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with motivate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for motivate

Spanish Central: Translation of motivate

Nglish: Translation of motivate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of motivate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on motivate

What made you want to look up motivate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!