prime mover


Definition of prime mover

1a : 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
b : a powerful tractor or truck usually with all-wheel drive
2 : the self-moved being that is the source of all motion
3 : the original or most effective force in an undertaking or work education is … a prime mover of cultural and societal change— R. 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 Crucially, Trump himself is not the prime mover here. Ross Douthat New York Times, Star Tribune, "There's more we must learn from the pandemic than that it's all Trump's fault," 14 Sep. 2020 The lefty was the prime mover of the A's nine-run inning Sunday. Henry Schulman,, "Giants’ besieged bullpen comes through to help stop five-game losing streak," 18 Aug. 2020 Encore Live, based in Fort Worth, Texas, was the prime mover for Garth Brooks’ drive-in concert, which screened in Alabama on June 27. Mary Colurso |, al, "Metallica concert to screen at 2 drive-in theaters in Alabama," 10 Aug. 2020 Firefighters were able to save the prime mover and first trailer, but not the B trailer that was carrying a load of toilet paper. Fox News, "Australian truck carrying toilet paper catches fire, police say," 23 Mar. 2020 Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative have been in the national spotlight for the past couple of years, as the prime movers for the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum. Mary Colurso |, al, "‘Just Mercy’ takes home 4 trophies at NAACP Image Awards," 24 Feb. 2020 From the first, Dario was prime mover, energizer, and star. Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books, "The People’s Clowns," 25 Feb. 2020 And a final note: The prime mover behind the preservation of Venice today is Save Venice — an American organization. Howard Husock, National Review, "Bernie Sanders, the Defense Budget, and the Lessons of Venice," 14 Jan. 2020 One of the prime movers of Brexit has been Britain’s long sense of separateness from the Continent, cut off for centuries by the English Channel, only 21 miles across at its narrowest point. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, "Photos of the U.K. in the Shadow of Brexit," 11 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of prime mover

1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for prime mover

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

Note: See also etymology at primum mobile.

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Time Traveler for prime mover

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The first known use of prime mover was in 1795

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Cite this Entry

“Prime mover.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for prime mover

prime mover


English Language Learners Definition of prime mover

: a person or thing that starts something or that has a very powerful influence on something

prime mover

\ ˈprīm-ˈmü-vər How to pronounce prime mover (audio) \

Medical Definition of prime mover

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