Did you know?

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


 - definition

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 entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] British English pronunciation: motivate /ˈməʊtɪveɪt/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlemotivating
past tensemotivated
past participlemotivated
  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

food rave

a very large party where people eat, sell or share many different types of food, usually held outside or in a large public building

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day


old and no longer in good condition

Open Dictionary

dead white (European) male

a man … whose achievements may have been overestimated because he belonged to the gender and ethnic group … that was dominant at the time

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