mo·​ti·​va·​tion | \ ˌmō-tə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce motivation (audio) \

Definition of motivation

1a : the act or process of motivating Some students need motivation to help them through school.
b : the condition of being motivated employees who lack motivation
2 : a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : incentive, drive the Old Testament heroes added religious motivation to the waging of war— Richard Humble The fear of failure was the motivation for his achievements.

Other Words from motivation

motivational \ ˌmō-​tə-​ˈvā-​shnəl How to pronounce motivation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
motivationally adverb

Examples of motivation in a Sentence

Some students need motivation to help them through school. Many people have questioned her motivations in choosing to run for office at this time.
Recent Examples on the Web The extra motivation in Saturday’s game helped ASU avoid a sweep from Oregon after dropping both Friday and Sunday’s contests and stay in the top eight in the Pac-12. Jenna Ortiz, The Arizona Republic, 15 May 2022 But Stern said that flouting reporting requirements indicates there could also be a political motivation in ICE’s release of sick detainees. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 Let monetary gains be a benefit but not your primary motivation when in the NFT space. Raoul Davis, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Among the most common threads of winning teams is to find motivation in naysayers, even if only a few of them can be found. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, 25 Mar. 2022 However, the former Alaska high school basketball star said getting more playing time wasn’t the main motivation in his decision to transfer. Josh Reed, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Mar. 2022 But federal prosecutors did not explicitly allege a racial motivation in those cases. Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2022 The defense has argued while the men may have used racist language, Arbery's race was not a motivation in the fatal incident. Theresa Waldrop, CNN, 21 Feb. 2022 That frustration was the motivation behind the camp of about half-dozen tents in front of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors building near Lake Merritt. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'motivation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of motivation

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of motivation was in 1873

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Motivation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for motivation


mo·​ti·​va·​tion | \ ˌmōt-ə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce motivation (audio) \

Medical Definition of motivation

1a : the act or process of motivating
b : the condition of being motivated
2 : a motivating force, stimulus, or influence (as a drive or incentive) lacks the motivation to lose weight

Other Words from motivation

motivational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce motivation (audio) \ adjective
motivationally \ -​ē How to pronounce motivation (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on motivation

Nglish: Translation of motivation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of motivation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about motivation


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