motive power

noun
|Updated on: 5 Jul 2018

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

Recent Examples of motive power from the Web

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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