Definition of “motive” - English Dictionary

“motive” in British English

See all translations

motivenoun [ C ]

uk /ˈməʊ.tɪv/ us /ˈmoʊ.t̬ɪv/

B2 a reason for doing something:

Why would she have killed him? She has no motive.
Does he have a motive for lying about where he was?
What is the motive behind (= the reason for) the bombing?
I think you should examine/question their motives in offering to lend you the money.
She denies that she has an ulterior (= secret) motive for making the donation.

More examples

motiveadjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˈməʊ.tɪv/ us /ˈmoʊ.t̬ɪv/ specialized

(Definition of “motive” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“motive” in American English

See all translations

motivenoun [ C ]

us /ˈmoʊ·t̬ɪv/

a reason for doing something:

Does he have a motive for lying about where he was?
Judy moved to Florida because she likes it there, not for any ulterior motive (= secret reason).
motivate
verb [ T ] us /ˈmoʊ·t̬əˌveɪt/

She’s motivated by a desire to help people.

(Definition of “motive” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)