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Old English drifan "to drive, force, hunt, pursue; rush against" (class I strong verb; past tense draf, past participle drifen), from Proto-Germanic *dribanan (cf. Old Frisian driva, Old Saxon driban, Dutch drijven, Old High German triban, German treiben, Old Norse drifa, Gothic dreiban "to drive"). Not found outside Germanic. Original sense of "pushing from behind," altered in Modern English by application to automobiles. Related: Driving.
MILLER: "The more you drive, the less intelligent you are." ["Repo Man," 1984]
1690s, "act of driving," from drive (v.). Meaning "excursion by vehicle" is from 1785. Golfing sense of "forcible blow" is from 1836. Meaning "organized effort to raise money" is 1889, American English. Sense of "dynamism" is from 1908. In the computing sense, first attested 1963.
A strong motivating tendency or instinct, especially of sexual or aggressive origin, that prompts activity toward a particular end.