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Definition of motive:

  1. Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move; as, a motive argument; motive power.
  2. That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choise, or moving the will; cause; reason; inducement; object.
  3. That which moves; a mover.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move.

Synonyms:

spring, agent, lure, goal, content, consideration, causation, rationale, fountain, calorific, motor, motivating, point, former, incitement, topic, originator, aim, ground, impulse, demand, goad, absorbance, pattern, centripetal force, bonding, creator, angle, author, incentive, question, account, origin, why, spur, ground, attraction, pauperism, design, need, antecedent, what makes one tick, excuse, study at cause, air resistance, causative, part, capillary action, indigence, actor, motivative, in justification of something, wherefore, reason, start, amplitude, motif, designer, condition, object, precedent, device, authority, subject, want, pretext, centrifugal force, causality, occasion, idea, power, penury, balance, inducement, pauperization, figure, purpose, motivation.

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