Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

motivate - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] motivate pronunciation in British English /ˈməʊtɪveɪt/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlemotivating
past tensemotivated
past participlemotivated
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to make someone feel determined to do something or enthusiastic about doing it
    She knows how to motivate people.
    He was primarily motivated by the desire for profit.
    motivate someone to do something: We must motivate students to take charge of their own learning.
  2. 2
    [often passive] to make someone behave in a particular way
    motivate by: The crime appears to have been motivated by hatred.

derived word


noun [countable]
Word Forms


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog