\ ˈdrīv How to pronounce drive (audio) \
drove\ ˈdrōv How to pronounce drive (audio) \; driven\ ˈdri-​vən How to pronounce drive (audio) \; driving\ ˈdrī-​viŋ How to pronounce drive (audio) \

Essential Meaning of drive

1 : to direct the movement of (a car, truck, bus, etc.) He drove the car down a bumpy road. She drives a taxi. [=her job is driving a taxi] See More ExamplesDo you want to drive or should I? He is learning to drive.Hide
2 of a car, truck, etc. : to move in a specified manner or direction The car stopped and then drove off. A car drove by us slowly. The bus slowly drove away.
3 : to travel in a car We drove all night and arrived at dawn. Are you driving or flying to Canada? [=will you travel to Canada by car or airplane?] See More ExamplesWe drove (for) eight hours yesterday. We drove 160 miles to get here. I drive on/along this route every day. I drive this route every day.Hide

Full Definition of drive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to frighten or prod (game, cattle, etc.) into moving in a desired direction drive cattle across the prairie
b hunting : to go through (an area) driving game animals drive the other side of the mountain
2 : to carry on or through energetically drives a hard bargain
3a : to impart a forward motion to by physical force Waves drove the boat ashore. drive the nail into the beam
b : to repulse, remove, or cause to go by force, authority, or influence drive the enemy back
c : to set or keep in motion or operation drive machinery by electricity
d basketball : to move quickly and forcefully down or along drive the lane drive the baseline
4a : to direct the motions and course of (a draft animal) drive an ox
b : to operate the mechanism and controls and direct the course of (a vehicle) drive a car
c : to convey in a vehicle His father drove me home.
d : to float (logs) down a stream
5a : to exert inescapable or coercive pressure on : force driven by his passions
b : to compel to undergo or suffer a change (as in situation or emotional state) drove him crazy drove her out of business
c : to urge relentlessly to continuous exertion the sergeant drove his recruits
d : to press or force into an activity, course, or direction The drug habit drives addicts to steal.
e : to project, inject, or impress incisively drove her point home
6 mining : to force (a passage) by pressing or digging drive a tunnel
7a : to propel (an object of play) swiftly or forcefully drove a long fly ball to the warning track
b golf : to hit (a ball) from the tee especially with a driver (see driver sense f) drove the ball down the fairway also : to drive a golf ball onto (a green)
c baseball : to cause (a run or runner) to be scored (see score entry 2 sense 4a(2)) usually used with in drove him in with a single
8 : to give shape or impulse to factors that drive the business cycle the ideas that have driven history

intransitive verb

1a : to dash, plunge, or surge ahead rapidly or violently rudely drove past her
b : to progress with strong momentum the rain was driving hard
c basketball : to make a quick and forceful move driving to the hoop
2a : to operate a vehicle learned to drive at the age of seventeen
b : to have oneself carried in a vehicle drove to Canada as a kid
3 golf : to drive a golf ball drove down the fairway
drive at
: to intend to express, convey, or accomplish couldn't understand what she was driving at


noun, often attributive
plural drives

Definition of drive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of driving:
a : a trip in a carriage or automobile a short drive to the coast
b : an instance of collecting and moving animals (such as game or cattle) together in a desired direction also : the animals gathered and driven (see drive entry 1 sense transitive 1a)
c : a driving of cattle or sheep overland
d : a hunt or shoot in which the game is driven within the hunter's range
e : the guiding of logs downstream to a mill also : the floating logs amassed in a drive
f(1) : the act or an instance of propelling an object of play (such as a golf ball) swiftly or forcefully
(2) : the flight of a ball a high drive to left field
2a : a private road : driveway
b : a public road for driving (as in a park)
3 : the state of being hurried and under pressure elude the ruthless drive of work and worry— S. H. Adams
4a : a strong systematic group effort a fund-raising drive The school held a food drive [=an event to collect food items for donation] to benefit the local shelter.
b : a sustained offensive (see offensive entry 1 sense 1) effort the drive ended in a touchdown
5a mechanical engineering : the means for giving motion to a machine or machine part
b : the means by which the propulsive power of an automobile is applied to the road front wheel drive
c : the means by which the propulsion of an automotive vehicle is controlled and directed a left-hand drive
6a : an offensive, aggressive, or expansionist move especially : a strong military attack against enemy-held terrain
b basketball : a quick and aggressive move toward the basket
7a biology : an urgent, basic, or instinctual need : a motivating physiological condition of an organism a sexual drive
b : an impelling culturally acquired concern, interest, or longing the drive to succeed
c : dynamic quality his drive and enthusiasm overcame all obstaclesTimes Literary Supplement
8 computers : a device for reading or writing on magnetic, optical, or electronic media (such as tapes, disks, or flash memory) broadly : memory sense 4 … the disk defragmenter doesn't just defrag a given drive— Barry Brenesal — see also hard drive

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Choose the Right Synonym for drive


move, actuate, drive, impel mean to set or keep in motion. move is very general and implies no more than the fact of changing position. moved the furniture actuate stresses transmission of power so as to work or set in motion. turbines actuated by waterpower drive implies imparting forward and continuous motion and often stresses the effect rather than the impetus. a ship driven aground by hurricane winds impel is usually figurative and suggests a great motivating impetus. a candidate impelled by ambition

Examples of drive in a Sentence

Verb He drove the car down a bumpy road. Do you want to drive or should I? He is learning to drive. The car stopped and then drove off. A car drove by us slowly. The bus slowly drove away. We drove all night and arrived at dawn. We drove 160 miles to get here. I drive on this route every day. I drive this route every day. Noun It's a two-hour drive to the beach. Her house is an hour's drive east of Los Angeles. We took a pleasant drive in the country. Would you like to go for a drive? A white car was parked in the drive.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Chicago police say a drive-by shooting at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday in West Town on the Northwest Side killed a 32-year-old man who was shot in the chest and wounded another four people. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 11 Oct. 2021 Last year, due to pandemic restrictions, the club and the league set up the drive-thru location in Blue Ash. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, 9 Oct. 2021 The worker shortage has hit the restaurant industry particularly hard, with fast-food restaurants from McDonald’s to Taco Bell limiting service to drive-through and reducing hours because there are fewer restaurant workers. Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2021 About half of the chain's office staff will hop behind fryers, cash registers and drive-thru windows starting this week to help as restaurants everywhere struggle to find enough workers, Bloomberg's Leslie Patton reports. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, 7 Oct. 2021 This event has two parts: a drive-thru portion and field activities., 6 Oct. 2021 The city will observe Trick or Treating at drive-thru locations from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 10 sites throughout the city. Brenda Cain, cleveland, 1 Oct. 2021 Those who are unvaccinated can get either a Pfizer, Moderna or J&J vaccine at the drive-thru clinics. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, 30 Sep. 2021 Police went to the McDonald’s parking lot at 7:07 p.m. Sept. 11 for a man sleeping in his car in the drive-thru lane right in front of the pay window. cleveland, 17 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Arlong Ebiketie both went down, only to return on the same drive. Dargan Southard, USA TODAY, 13 Oct. 2021 The Bengals punted, but Burrow returned on the next drive and threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase., 11 Oct. 2021 On the next drive, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young marched the Crimson Tide down to the 1-yard line only to throw the football into the hands of Texas A&M’s Demani Richardson. Laine Higgins, WSJ, 10 Oct. 2021 Chase McLaughlin hit a 31-yard field goal after the Browns forced a Chargers fumble on the following drive to take a 20-13 lead into halftime. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 10 Oct. 2021 The Hilltoppers forced the Roadrunners to punt on the ensuing drive and took over at their own 30-yard line with 3:20 to play. Greg Luca, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Oct. 2021 The first came in the end zone by Cameron Latu on the second drive that ended in a field goal that cut the edge to 31-31. Michael Casagrande |, al, 10 Oct. 2021 Palm Beach Central came right back on the next drive, and former Park Vista running back Markel King ran the ball 36-yards for a score. Adam Lichtenstein,, 9 Oct. 2021 The Cougars turned to Griffin-Terrell on the ensuing drive, marching 78 yards on nine plays for a go-ahead score. Dave Melton,, 9 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'drive.' 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 drive


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

History and Etymology for drive

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Old English drīfan; akin to Old High German trīban to drive

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Time Traveler for drive

Time Traveler

The first known use of drive was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near drive



drive a hard bargain

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Statistics for drive

Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for drive


\ ˈdrīv How to pronounce drive (audio) \
drove\ ˈdrōv \; driven\ ˈdri-​vən \; driving\ ˈdrī-​viŋ \

Kids Definition of drive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to direct the movement of drive a car
2 : to go or carry in a vehicle drive into town Mom drove me to school.
3 : to move using force … he used his greater strength to drive the young mouse backwards.— Brian Jacques, Redwall
4 : to push in with force drive a nail
5 : to set or keep in motion or operation The machines are driven by electricity.
6 : to carry through drive a bargain
7 : to force to work or to act The peasants were driven by hunger to steal.
8 : to bring into a particular condition That noise is driving me crazy!

Other Words from drive

driver \ ˈdrī-​vər \ noun



Kids Definition of drive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a trip in a vehicle
2 : driveway
3 : an often scenic public road
4 : an organized effort to achieve a goal a fund-raising drive
5 : a strong natural need or desire the drive to eat
6 : energy and determination to succeed
7 : an act of leading animals in a group to another place a cattle drive
8 : the means for making a machine or machine part move
9 : a device in a computer that can read information off and copy information onto disks or tape a disk drive


\ ˈdrīv How to pronounce drive (audio) \

Medical Definition of drive

1 : an urgent, basic, or instinctual need : a motivating physiological condition of the organism a sexual drive
2 : an impelling culturally acquired concern, interest, or longing a drive for perfection

More from Merriam-Webster on drive

Nglish: Translation of drive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drive for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about drive


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