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

It was also motivated, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, by a strategic belief that users will increasingly gravitate to services that offer more privacy. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Facebook Is Turning Off Its Facial Recognition Features By Default, Continuing a Pivot to Privacy," 3 Sep. 2019 Those concerns are partially motivated by Trump’s own remarks. Rick Noack, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump has a lot to say about Brexit, but are Brits listening?," 2 Sep. 2019 Like Derek Jeter [who in 1996 founded Turn 2 Foundation to help motivate kids to avoid drugs and alcohol]. Nora Krug, Washington Post, "Jackie Robinson’s daughter wants to talk about race: ‘We still have hate’," 27 Aug. 2019 Grossman’s anger at Soviet abuses was motivated in part by grief over the betrayal of revolutionary ideals. Sophie Pinkham, The New Republic, "Vasily Grossman’s Lost Epic," 27 Aug. 2019 Some of that heavy monitoring, camp directors note, is financially motivated: Parents shelling out $10,000 for an eight-week summer camp tend to want to see where that money has gone. Drew Harwell, The Denver Post, "Summer camps use facial recognition so parents can watch from home," 25 Aug. 2019 On the other hand, learning of impending doom may also help motivate patients to work on improving their health through lifestyle changes to stall that fate. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Researchers are creepily close to predicting when you’re going to die," 21 Aug. 2019 The realization of how complex [and costly] those impacts are… should help motivate greater policy engagement. Geoff Dembicki, Scientific American, "Companies May Limit Life-saving Climate Data to Clients that Can Pay," 15 Aug. 2019 Only by applying pressure will China be motivated to change its destructive trade habits. James D. Schultz For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Trump's trade war with China will be worth the fight," 15 Aug. 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

11 Sep 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

one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!