motive power


Definition of motive power

1 : an agency (such as water or steam) used to impart motion especially to machinery
2 : something (such as a locomotive or a motor) that provides motive power to a system

Examples of motive power in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web VanMoof says the final version of the bike (likely depending on options) will have 1,000 cumulative Watts of motive power. Bill Roberson, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 That engine, which provides no motive power per se, extends range by acting as an onboard generator to recharge the battery pack. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 21 May 2021 The labor of these dogs, whose hours are as exactly regulated as those of their human fellow laborers, consists in furnishing motive power to the bellows, which fan the furnaces of the atéliers. Dan Schlenoff, Scientific American, 15 Mar. 2021 The motive power behind all of these institutions was American commitment. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 14 Dec. 2019 So was the stove and most of the engine, which was powered by gas produced from coal, though most of the motive power came from the 12,900 square feet of sail. John Kelly, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2019 Dethleffs says that adding electric motive power will decrease the towing demands of the camper and make handling better while driving. Megan Barber, Curbed, 29 Aug. 2018 Leading British figures are Richard Trevithick, a pioneer of high-pressure steam (the steam itself creates the motive power) and George Stephenson, a genius of early locomotives. Charles R. Morris, WSJ, 21 June 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of motive power

1702, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of motive power was in 1702

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Cite this Entry

“Motive power.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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