Definition of motivation in English:



  • 1The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

    ‘escape can be a strong motivation for travel’
    • ‘The question of whether simple life ever arose on Mars is a strong motivation for exploration.’
    • ‘That was probably one of the main motivations in my life.’
    • ‘Muslim women wear the hijab for a number of reasons beyond the obvious religious motivations.’
    • ‘The motivation for this rationalisation is, however, the serious fiscal crisis in the health care system.’
    • ‘When we later meet Pilate, his motivations are made clear, but the High Priest's are not.’
    • ‘I've had to fire friends before because they didn't have the same motivations I had.’
    • ‘We all know what side they are on, and what their motivations are.’
    • ‘It is also essential to understand the reasons and motivations behind such behaviours and cultural norms.’
    • ‘What was the motivation behind you going traveling for two months in China & Vietnam a couple of years ago?’
    • ‘According to Forbes one of the main motivations is to inspire children to continue with their education.’
    • ‘I am suggesting that we are wrong to dismiss their motivations and reasoning out of hand as trivial and aberrant.’
    • ‘For people who have no faith in God, fear of punishment would be a stronger motivation to do good than promise of reward.’
    • ‘It just gave you a stronger motivation for doing what you already knew was right.’
    • ‘The university needs to reflect on the motivations of its teachers.’
    • ‘Although it can be very difficult to give up smoking, many women find pregnancy is a strong motivation.’
    • ‘What could you possibly know about the motivations that caused these young people to become so angry?’
    • ‘It also makes good business sense to query Plato's motivations for writing the Republic.’
    • ‘Her main motivation was a desire to see the old mill working again.’
    • ‘On the other hand, is it wrong to suspect that the ad campaign might have political motivations as well?’
    • ‘But money remained one of the motivations behind the creation of the new partnership, Ms Phillips admitted.’
    • ‘Trying to calculate the motivations of others is frustrating precisely because some statements or actions are motiveless.’
    motive, motivating force, incentive, stimulus, stimulation, inspiration, impulse, inducement, incitement, spur, goad, provocation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
      ‘keep staff up to date and maintain interest and motivation’
      • ‘Leadership, strategic thinking and motivation are considered to be the key qualities of an effective CEO.’
      • ‘What does this do to a young man of little education, to his desire and motivation?’
      • ‘I lost any small amount of motivation I had to study after she became ill.’
      • ‘In his mind it has given him the added drive and motivation to do better.’
      • ‘While the best students will always excel and achieve, added motivation can be provided by prizes such as this.’
      • ‘She'd let us stay because we had motivation and good humour and spirit.’
      • ‘The students all showed extreme motivation and interest in it.’
      • ‘All in all, the Government is the poorer for the loss of her drive, motivation and intelligence.’
      • ‘Socialism could only become a reality if the majority of people had the desire and motivation to fight for it.’
      • ‘I just hope that this enthusiasm and motivation grows, and we don't see all he has to give too soon.’
      • ‘Intrinsic motivation is the desire to take part in an activity for its own sake.’
      • ‘The hypothalamus is one of the most important parts of the brain, involved in many kinds of motivation, among other functions.’
      • ‘The course will include the study of motivation, emotion and personality.’
      • ‘Other possibilities include job satisfaction, motivation and the experience of work generally.’
      • ‘For a short while I lived my life this way, I had no motivation to change it either.’
      • ‘Since the disaster it's been a constant challenge to maintain motivation and morale.’
      • ‘An interviewer wants to gauge your enthusiasm and motivation in wanting a job there.’
      • ‘Thinking like this will make your learning more personal, and this will increase your motivation.’
      • ‘I finished my intermediate, but realised that I had no motivation to continue.’
      • ‘While they lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good.’
      enthusiasm, drive, ambition, initiative, determination, enterprise, sense of purpose
      View synonyms


Late 19th century: from motive, reinforced by motivate.