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prime mover

noun
1.
Mechanics.
  1. the initial agent, as wind or electricity, that puts a machine in motion.
  2. a machine, as a water wheel or steam engine, that receives and modifies energy as supplied by some natural source.
2.
means of towing a cannon, as an animal, truck, or tractor.
3.
Also called unmoved mover. Aristotelianism. that which is the first cause of all movement and does not itself move.
4.
a person or thing that initiates or gives power and cohesion to something, as an idea, endeavor, or organization.
Origin of prime mover
1935-1940
1935-40
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prime mover
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sometimes, indeed, they speak of an attraction, sometimes of an impulsion exercised by the prime mover on the whole of the world.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • Well, here was the arch-revolutionist, the prime mover of them all.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • My husband admitted as much to me from the first, and he did not need to tell me that you were the prime mover in the affair.

    Parlous Times David Dwight Wells
  • Something prompted him that Jake was to be the central figure, the prime mover.

    The Night Riders Ridgwell Cullum
  • The only person who ever knocked at their door in that way was the new vicar, the prime mover in the church-building.

    Desperate Remedies Thomas Hardy
  • Simcoe was almost certainly the prime mover in the legislation of 1793.

British Dictionary definitions for prime mover

prime mover

noun
1.
the original or primary force behind an idea, enterprise, etc
2.
  1. the source of power, such as fuel, wind, electricity, etc, for a machine
  2. the means of extracting power from such a source, such as a steam engine, electric motor, etc
3.
(in the philosophy of Aristotle) that which is the cause of all movement

Prime Mover

noun
1.
(philosophy) the Prime Mover, God, esp when considered as a first cause
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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Idioms and Phrases with prime mover

prime mover

The initial source of energy directed toward a goal, someone or something that sets others in motion. For example, Jean was the prime mover in getting us more laboratory space, or Patriotism was the prime mover of the revolution. [ Late 1600s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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