What do a.m. and p.m. stand for?

motive power

any power used to impart motion; any source of mechanical energy.
Railroads. locomotives or other vehicles that supply tractive power.
Origin of motive power
1615-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for motive power
  • There was virtually no mention of motive power for aircraft and ships, or how that transition would be made.
  • They're all perfectly capable of transforming electrons into motive power.
  • His characters are no longer gods, the motive power in his plots no longer divine.
  • The main motive power comes from two large batteries.
  • At the moment the car industry seems to view electricity as the motive power of the future.
  • The question is, what will replace it as the source of power for motive power.
  • As electricity diffused, it became the motive power of merriness.
  • Camels and oxen furnish the motive power at the source of irrigation.
  • Appearance was little altered, but a major change had occurred in the motive power.
British Dictionary definitions for motive power

motive power

any source of energy used to produce motion
the means of supplying power to an engine, vehicle, etc
any driving force
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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