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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.

  • A few years ago the motive power for most manufactures was steam.

    Diggers in the Earth Eva March Tappan
  • At an early date sawmills had been established upon the streams, using the water as motive power.

  • This was purchased as being exactly the motive power required.

  • 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
  • Culture is the end of life, the spirit of service the motive power.

    Chapters in Rural Progress Kenyon L. Butterfield
  • 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
  • Of course it is quite impossible that the motive power can be electricity?

    The Motor Pirate George Sidney Paternoster
  • Sometimes the motive power of their progress is the reception of truths of science, art, literature, or religion.

    Nineteenth Century Questions James Freeman Clarke
  • Flight does depend on motion, but motion does not depend on motive power.

    Opportunities in Aviation Arthur Sweetser
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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