Thesaurus

motive

noun

Synonyms and Antonyms of motive

  1. 1 a major object of interest or concern (as in a discussion or artistic composition) the principal motive of the piece was introduced in the flute section Synonyms of motive content, motif, matter, question, subject, theme, topicWords Related to motive subject matter; talking point; count, idea, point, purpose; consideration, issue, problem; body, bulk, burden, centerpiece, core, crux, essence, fundamental, generality, gist, grist, heart, kernel, keynote, main, marrow, mass, net, nub, nubbin, nucleus, pith, pivot, purport, quick, staple, substance, sum; basis; bottom, essential, essentiality; affair, argument, debateNear Antonyms of motive aside, digression, excursion, interjection, parenthesis, tangent

  2. 2 a unit of decoration that is repeated all over something (as a fabric) decorated with a paisley motive Synonyms of motive design, figure, motif, patternWords Related to motive scheme; device; adornment, caparison, decoration, embellishment, frill, garnish, ornament, trim

  3. 3 something (as a belief) that serves as the basis for another thing the detective felt that the first suspect didn't have any motive for committing the crime Synonyms of motive account, authority, grounds, reason, subject, wherefore, whyWords Related to motive antecedent, cause, consideration, impetus, incentive, inspiration, instigation, occasion, stimulus

Synonym Discussion of motive

motive, impulse, incentive, inducement, spur, goad mean a stimulus to action. motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act.
    • a motive for the crime
impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution.
    • buying on impulse
incentive applies to an external influence (such as an expected reward) inciting to action.
    • a bonus was offered as an incentive
inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another.
    • offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe
spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor.
    • fear was a spur to action
goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire.
    • thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency


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