motive power

noun

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

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, "‘Energy’ Review: The Path to Power," 21 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near motive power

motivation

motivator

motive

motive power

motivity

mot juste

motley

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Time Traveler for motive power

The first known use of motive power was in 1702

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