prime mover


: an initial source of motive power (such as a windmill, waterwheel, turbine, or internal combustion engine) designed to receive and modify force and motion as supplied by some natural source and apply them to drive machinery
: a powerful tractor or truck usually with all-wheel drive
: the self-moved being that is the source of all motion
: the original or most effective force in an undertaking or work
education is … a prime mover of cultural and societal changeR. C. Buck

Examples of prime mover in a Sentence

She was the prime mover behind the town's annual summer festival.
Recent Examples on the Web Oakland Democrat Rob Bonta was the prime mover of AB 2088, the California Wealth Tax, which would have slapped a 0.4 percent tax on the portion of a taxpayer’s net worth that exceeded $30 million. K. Lloyd Billingsley, Orange County Register, 25 Feb. 2024 But the heart of the movie, and the prime movers of its distinctive tone, are the performers. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 27 Dec. 2023 The prime mover behind the statue was Ross Hetrick of Gettysburg, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, who in 1999 founded the nonprofit Thaddeus Stevens Society. Tracy Schorn, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Dec. 2023 Robertson, who plays guitar on the song, was a prime mover for The Band, a colleague of Bob Dylan, a successful solo artist and more. Mary Colurso |, al, 10 Aug. 2023 This writer called a Wall Street prime mover in conducting people to safety on the morning no one will forget, Frank Bisignano. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 26 July 2023 Restaurateur Dean Robb and chef James Huckaby are two of the prime movers at Blueprint on 3rd, which opened in 2018. Mary Colurso |, al, 8 July 2023 He’s been such a prime mover throughout everything. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Mar. 2023 It is said to be a prime mover of inflation in the economy. George Calhoun, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2022

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

Word History


(sense 2) translation of Medieval Latin prīmum mōbile, prīmus mōtus, prīmus mōtor or other variants

Note: See also etymology at primum mobile.

First Known Use

1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of prime mover was in 1795

Dictionary Entries Near prime mover

Cite this Entry

“Prime mover.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

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