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. " 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
  2. 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
  3. What motive can there have been, do you think? – Denzil Quarrier by George Gissing
  4. And I have another motive, a more selfish one. – Hunter Patrol by Henry Beam Piper and John J. McGuire
  5. But I must be allowed to clear myself of even the suspicion of an interested motive. – The Black Robe by Wilkie Collins
  6. 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
  7. To- night I give for no other motive than to bring enjoyment to you. – Here and Hereafter by Barry Pain
  8. On the present occasion another motive had also its influence. – The Martins Of Cro' Martin, Vol. II (of II) by Charles James Lever
  9. 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
  10. " I am a little ashamed of my motive," he confessed. – The Inside of the Cup, Complete by Winston Churchill Last Updated: March 5, 2009
  11. His motive, she felt certain, was curiosity to learn what his letter had brought about. – Hetty Wesley by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  12. Then, moved by some motive of her own, she followed Missy upstairs to do it up herself. – Missy by Dana Gatlin
  13. 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
  14. Then you had some other motive in favouring me with your company? – The Prime Minister by W.H.G. Kingston
  15. Well, let us consider the question of motive a little more fully. – Afterwards by Kathlyn Rhodes
  16. 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
  17. " Yes," she said, " we are acquainted with your errand, though not with its motive." – Lady Baltimore by Owen Wister
  18. Motive is everything, and man is punished in a case of direct responsibility, never otherwise. – Death--and After? by Annie Besant
  19. So love can't be their motive. – The Bartlett Mystery by Louis Tracy
  20. 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