Denotation vs. Connotation

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
Historical Examples
  • A machine that gets its motive power by pneumatic pressure will produce pretty effects by scientific refinements.

  • What is it originates, directs, and controls the motive power?

    On the Study of Zoology Thomas H. Huxley
  • At an early date sawmills had been established upon the streams, using the water as motive power.

  • Any one of them, Carpenter said, was ample for motive power.

  • The motive power is supplied by two four-cylinder petrol engines of the Daimler type, each giving 36 h.p.

    The Romance of Modern Mechanism Archibald Williams
  • But you've got to admit that they haven't got either the motive power or the money.

    The White Desert Courtney Ryley Cooper
  • For a beginning take the possibility of the application of electricity as a motive power in the operation of the railroad.

    The Railroad Problem Edward Hungerford
  • In your motive power see to it there is no mixture of vanity with duty.

    Broken Bread Thomas Champness
  • Sometimes the motive power of their progress is the reception of truths of science, art, literature, or religion.

    Nineteenth Century Questions James Freeman Clarke
  • A few years ago the motive power for most manufactures was steam.

    Diggers in the Earth Eva March Tappan
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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