mo·​ti·​va·​tion | \ ˌmō-tə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce motivation (audio) \

Definition of motivation

1a : the act or process of motivating Some students need motivation to help them through school.
b : the condition of being motivated employees who lack motivation
2 : a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : incentive, drive the Old Testament heroes added religious motivation to the waging of war— Richard Humble The fear of failure was the motivation for his achievements.

Other Words from motivation

motivational \ ˌmō-​tə-​ˈvā-​shnəl How to pronounce motivation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
motivationally adverb

Examples of motivation in a Sentence

Some students need motivation to help them through school. Many people have questioned her motivations in choosing to run for office at this time.
Recent Examples on the Web Following this season, Strehlow plans to go pro and Haviland thinks her motivation will only grow. Ben Schultz, Journal Sentinel, 6 Aug. 2022 In spite of her many accolades, Lizzo said fans like Aria are her motivation for making empowering music. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 3 Aug. 2022 But what to do when their motivation runs up against an obstacle? Kat Eschner, Fortune, 27 July 2022 In a email cited in the lawsuit, Zuckerberg detailed his motivation to buy Instagram. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 July 2022 And because music was vital to any kid in any high school at that time—a school’s music curriculum would sometimes be their only motivation to go to school at all. Michael Klein, SPIN, 22 July 2022 But that’s about as far as her motivation went, and Brookes went home Saturday with gluten-free buckwheat pumpernickle bagels and kale starts. oregonlive, 16 July 2022 When her motivation began to wane, North built a sauna to warm herself, complete with a cushy walkway to and from her shelter made from soft moss. Frederick Dreier, Outside Online, 15 July 2022 At least professional sports is more honest about its motivation, cloaking itself in community connections, true, representing their city-states in battle, but rarely draping any sort of righteousness or virtue in its machinations. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of motivation

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of motivation was in 1873

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Motivation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for motivation


mo·​ti·​va·​tion | \ ˌmōt-ə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce motivation (audio) \

Medical Definition of motivation

1a : the act or process of motivating
b : the condition of being motivated
2 : a motivating force, stimulus, or influence (as a drive or incentive) lacks the motivation to lose weight

Other Words from motivation

motivational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce motivation (audio) \ adjective
motivationally \ -​ē How to pronounce motivation (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on motivation

Nglish: Translation of motivation for Spanish Speakers

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


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