Definitions of motive

  1. a theme that is elaborated on in a piece of music
  2. impelling to action; " it may well be that ethical language has primarily a motivative function"- Arthur Pap; " motive pleas"; " motivating arguments"
  3. the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior; " we did not understand his motivation"; " he acted with the best of motives"
  4. causing or able to cause motion; " a motive force"; " motive power"; " motor energy"
  5. That which moves; a mover.
  6. That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choise, or moving the will; cause; reason; inducement; object.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move; as, a motive argument; motive power.
  10. To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move.
  11. That which urges to action; as, love of country is the motive that sends many men to war; reason.
  12. Causing action; as, steam is the motive power in the locomotive.
  13. Causing motion: having power to move.
  14. That which moves or excites to action: inducement: reason.
  15. causing movement.
  16. Inducement; reason.
  17. Having power to move; causing motion.
  18. That which incites to action; incentive; impulse; design; purpose.
  19. Causing motion; having power or tending to move.
  20. 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.
  21. Causing motion; able or tending to move.
  22. 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.

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
  3. His motive, she felt certain, was curiosity to learn what his letter had brought about. – Hetty Wesley by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  4. " I am a little ashamed of my motive," he confessed. – The Inside of the Cup, Complete by Winston Churchill Last Updated: March 5, 2009
  5. To- night I give for no other motive than to bring enjoyment to you. – Here and Hereafter by Barry Pain
  6. What motive can there have been, do you think? – Denzil Quarrier by George Gissing
  7. I will take it for granted that your motive in this matter is one which it is my duty to respect. – Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins
  8. " Yes," she said, " we are acquainted with your errand, though not with its motive." – Lady Baltimore by Owen Wister
  9. Well, let us consider the question of motive a little more fully. – Afterwards by Kathlyn Rhodes
  10. His love for her had been the chief motive of his life when he left the house in Berkeley Square. – The Truants by A. E. W. (Alfred Edward Woodley) Mason
  11. So love can't be their motive. – The Bartlett Mystery by Louis Tracy
  12. Then, moved by some motive of her own, she followed Missy upstairs to do it up herself. – Missy by Dana Gatlin
  13. " I have said from the first," she declared, " that nobody would come here, as that girl did, and do so much unless she had a motive." – An Alabaster Box by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Florence Morse Kingsley
  14. For my own motive ... – The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Vol. 1 (of 2) 1845-1846 by Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett
  15. I was a little surprised at this, but after awhile saw that a generous and noble motive lay at the bottom of it all. – Wives and Widows; or The Broken Life by Ann S. Stephens
  16. Motive is everything, and man is punished in a case of direct responsibility, never otherwise. – Death--and After? by Annie Besant
  17. Such was Mrs. Parsley's leit- motive now, the " her" having, it is scarcely necessary to say, reference to Mrs. Darrow. – A Woman's Burden by Fergus Hume
  18. A deep plot, Mr. Ransom; one that should prove to you that Mrs. Ransom's motive in leaving you was of a very serious character. – The Chief Legatee by Anna Katharine Green