Definition of prime mover
1a : an initial source of motive power (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 machineryb : 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.
Origin and Etymology of prime mover
translation of Medieval Latin primus motor
First Known Use: 1795
PRIME MOVER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of prime mover for English Language Learners
: a person or thing that starts something or that has a very powerful influence on something
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