motive power


: an agency (such as water or steam) used to impart motion especially to machinery
: 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 Literally blurring the landscape is something each of this year’s cars does with gusto, an experience that, regardless of a vehicle’s motive power or number of doors, will never get old. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 13 Feb. 2024 The left rear axle shaft may have been improperly heat-treated during manufacturing and may break, which could result in a loss of motive power and inability to hold the vehicle in park, the company said in a NHTSA report. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 5 Sep. 2023 An overheated contactor that opens while driving may result in an immediate loss of motive power without re-engagement, increasing the risk of a crash. Detroit Free Press, 21 Aug. 2023 The Enzo’s successor was the LaFerrari, whose motive power combined an engine and an electric motor, ushering in a new age of supercars and making models like the Enzo that much more collectible. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 12 Dec. 2022 That modular architecture will lay the foundation of every future Rolls-Royce, regardless of its motive power. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 29 July 2022 An overheated contactor that opens while driving can result in a loss of motive power, which can increase the risk of an accident. Laura Sky Brown, Car and Driver, 14 June 2022 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'motive power.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1702, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of motive power was in 1702

Dictionary Entries Near motive power

Cite this Entry

“Motive power.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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