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[moh-tuh-vey-shuh n] /ˌmoʊ təˈveɪ ʃən/
the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way:
I don't understand what her motivation was for quitting her job.
the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something:
We know that these students have strong motivation to learn.
something that motivates; inducement; incentive:
Clearly, the company's long-term motivation is profit.
Origin of motivation
1870-75; motive + -ation
Related forms
motivational, adjective
motivative, adjective
antimotivational, adjective
demotivation, noun
nonmotivation, noun
nonmotivational, adjective
remotivation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for motivation
  • Dreams fueled by hypocrisy and false truths about my resolve, my motivation and inspiration.
  • Their success could not have been achieved without enormous motivation.
  • Cleopatra became a tragic heroine, with love of Antony her sole motivation.
  • The reason we demur, psychologically, is that self-control does not give us enough sustained motivation to achieve big plans.
  • Using grades as motivation is moving in the wrong direction.
  • If you must have motivation, think of your paycheck on Friday.
  • Still, that clearly is not his only motivation.
  • This area of the fly brain is termed the mushroom body, and is associated with motivation and learning.
  • The emphasis is placed throughout on guiding principles and motivation, rather than on technical procedures.
  • My mother left me some money, and it gave me the motivation to get a career and go to school and do something.
British Dictionary definitions for motivation


the act or an instance of motivating
desire to do; interest or drive
incentive or inducement
(psychol) the process that arouses, sustains and regulates human and animal behaviour
Derived Forms
motivational, adjective
motivative, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for motivation

1873, from motivate + -ion. Psychological use, "inner or social stimulus for an action," is from 1904.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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