motive

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See also: Motive

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Middle English motif, from Anglo-Norman motif, Middle French motif, and their source, Late Latin motivum (motive, moving cause), neuter of motivus (serving to move).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

motive (plural motives)

  1. (obsolete) An idea or communication that makes one want to act, especially from spiritual sources; a divine prompting. [14th-17th c.]
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, III.2.1.ii:
      there's something in a woman beyond all human delight; a magnetic virtue, a charming quality, an occult and powerful motive.
  2. An incentive to act in a particular way; a reason or emotion that makes one want to do something; anything that prompts a choice of action. [from 15th c.]
    • 1947, Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano:
      Many of them at first seemed kind to him, but it turned out their motives were not entirely altruistic.
  3. (obsolete, rare) A limb or other bodily organ that can move. [15th-17th c.]
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  4. (law) Something which causes someone to want to commit a crime; a reason for criminal behaviour. [from 18th c.]
    What would his motive be for burning down the cottage?
    No-one could understand why she had hidden the shovel; her motives were obscure at best.
    • 1931, Francis Beeding, chapter 10/6, Death Walks in Eastrepps[1]:
      “Why should Eldridge commit murder? [] There was only one possible motive—namely, he wished to avoid detection as James Selby of Anaconda Ltd. []
  5. (architecture, fine arts) A motif. [from 19th c.]
  6. (music) A motif; a theme or subject, especially one that is central to the work or often repeated. [from 19th c.]
    If you listen carefully, you can hear the flutes mimicking the cello motive.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Verb[edit]

motive (third-person singular simple present motives, present participle motiving, simple past and past participle motived)

  1. (transitive) To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

motive (not comparable)

  1. Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move; as, a motive argument; motive power.
    • 1658, Sir Thomas Browne, The Garden of Cyrus, Folio Society 2007, p. 195:
      In the motive parts of animals may be discovered mutuall proportions; not only in those of Quadrupeds, but in the thigh-bone, legge, foot-bone, and claws of Birds.
  2. Relating to motion and/or to its cause

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

External links[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Verb[edit]

motive

  1. first-person singular present indicative of motiver
  2. third-person singular present indicative of motiver
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of motiver
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of motiver
  5. second-person singular imperative of motiver

Latin[edit]

Adjective[edit]

mōtive

  1. vocative masculine singular of mōtivus

Portuguese[edit]

Verb[edit]

motive

  1. first-person singular present subjunctive of motivar
  2. third-person singular present subjunctive of motivar
  3. first-person singular imperative of motivar
  4. third-person singular imperative of motivar

Romanian[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

motive

  1. plural form of motiv

Serbo-Croatian[edit]

Noun[edit]

motive (Cyrillic spelling мотиве)

  1. accusative plural of motiv
  2. vocative singular of motiv

Spanish[edit]

Verb[edit]

motive

  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of motivar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of motivar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of motivar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of motivar.