a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect: You have been the cause of much anxiety. What was the cause of the accident?
the reason or motive for some human action: The good news was a cause for rejoicing.
good or sufficient reason: to complain without cause; to be dismissed for cause.
a ground of legal action; the matter over which a person goes to law.
a case for judicial decision.
any subject of discussion or debate.
a principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated: the Socialist cause; the human rights cause.
the welfare of a person or group, seen as a subject of concern: support for the cause of the American Indian.
the end or purpose for which a thing is done or produced.
Aristotelianism. any of the four things necessary for the movement or the coming into being of a thing, namely a material (material cause) something to act upon it (efficient cause) a form taken by the movement or development (formal cause) and a goal or purpose (final cause)
verb (used with object), caused, causing.
to be the cause of; bring about.
make common cause, to unite in a joint effort; work together for the same end: They made common cause with neighboring countries and succeeded in reducing tariffs.

1175–1225; Middle English < Latin causa reason, sake, case

causable, adjective
causability, noun
causeless, adjective
causelessly, adverb
causelessness, noun
causer, noun
noncausable, adjective
self-caused, adjective
subcause, noun
uncausable, adjective
undercause, noun

casualty, causality, causation, cause (see synonym study at the current entry).

1. Cause, occasion refer to the starting of effects into motion. A cause is an agency, perhaps acting through a long time, or a long-standing situation, that produces an effect: The cause of the quarrel between the two men was jealousy. An occasion is an event that provides an opportunity for the effect to become evident, or perhaps promotes its becoming evident: The occasion was the fact that one man's wages were increased. 3. See reason. 9. effect, make, create, produce. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cause (kɔːz)
1.  a person, thing, event, state, or action that produces an effect
2.  grounds for action; motive; justification: she had good cause to shout like that
3.  the ideals, etc, of a group or movement: the Communist cause
4.  the welfare or interests of a person or group in a dispute: they fought for the miners' cause
5.  a matter of widespread concern or importance: the cause of public health
6.  a.  a ground for legal action; matter giving rise to a lawsuit
 b.  the lawsuit itself
7.  (in the philosophy of Aristotle) any of four requirements for a thing's coming to be, namely material (material cause), its nature (formal cause), an agent (efficient cause), and a purpose (final cause)
8.  make common cause with to join with (a person, group, etc) for a common objective
9.  (tr) to be the cause of; bring about; precipitate; be the reason for
[C13: from Latin causa cause, reason, motive]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

early 13c., from L. causa "a cause, reason, judicial process, lawsuit," of unknown origin. Cause célèbre "celebrated legal case" is 1763, from French.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
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The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
As the meringue cools, the air in the bubbles contracts and causes slight
If possible, protect blooms from rain, which causes spotting on petals.
Can anyone tell me what causes tomatoes to go bad where they rest on the ground
  or straw.
It comes suddenly, without warning, and causes great harm.
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