One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘the motive for the attack is still unknown’
reason, motivation, motivating force, rationale, grounds, cause, basis, occasion, thinking, the whys and wherefores, object, purpose, intention, design
incentive, inducement, impulse, incitement, influence, lure, inspiration, stimulus, stimulation, spur, goad, provocation, pressure, persuasion, consideration
2‘religious motives in art’
motif, theme, idea, concept, subject, topic, leitmotif, trope, element
1‘the machinery supplying the motive power for the hydraulic cranes’
kinetic, driving, impelling, propelling, propulsive, operative, moving, motor
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