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Definitions of motive

  1. To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move. Webster Dictionary DB
  2. That which moves; a mover. Webster Dictionary DB
  3. That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choise, or moving the will; cause; reason; inducement; object. Webster Dictionary DB
  4. The theme or subject; a leading phrase or passage which is reproduced and varied through the course of a comor a movement; a short figure, or melodic germ, out of which a whole movement is develpoed. See also Leading motive, under Leading. Webster Dictionary DB
  5. That which produces conception, invention, or creation in the mind of the artist in undertaking his subject; the guiding or controlling idea manifested in a work of art, or any part of one. Webster Dictionary DB
  6. That which urges to action; as, love of country is the motive that sends many men to war; reason. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.
  7. That which moves or excites to action: inducement: reason. The american dictionary of the english language. By Daniel Lyons. Published 1899.
  8. causing movement. The Clarendon dictionary. By William Hand Browne, Samuel Stehman Haldeman. Published 1894.
  9. Inducement; reason. The Clarendon dictionary. By William Hand Browne, Samuel Stehman Haldeman. Published 1894.
  10. That which incites to action; incentive; impulse; design; purpose. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  11. That which incites to action or determines the choice; inducement; the subject which a work of art respects, or the spiritual idea which pervades it. Motive force, the sum of force which tends to promote motion. Nuttall's Standard dictionary of the English language. By Nuttall, P.Austin. Published 1914.
  12. That which actuates or influences; that which determines the choice; inducement; cause; reason; in art, that which produces conception, invention, or creation in the mind of the artist, when undertaking a subject. Etymological and pronouncing dictionary of the English language. By Stormonth, James, Phelp, P. H. Published 1874.
  13. Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move; as, a motive argument; motive power. Webster Dictionary DB
  14. Causing action; as, steam is the motive power in the locomotive. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.
  15. Causing motion: having power to move. The american dictionary of the english language. By Daniel Lyons. Published 1899.
  16. Causing motion; able or tending to move. Etymological and pronouncing dictionary of the English language. By Stormonth, James, Phelp, P. H. Published 1874.

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Usage examples for motive

  1. But I must be allowed to clear myself of even the suspicion of an interested motive – The Black Robe by Wilkie Collins
  2. And I have another motive a more selfish one. – Hunter Patrol by Henry Beam Piper and John J. McGuire
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