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drive (v.)

Old English drifan "to compel or urge to move, impel in some direction or manner; to hunt (deer), pursue; to rush against" (class I strong verb; past tense draf, past participle drifen), from Proto-Germanic *dreibanan (source also of Old Frisian driva"I lead, impel, drive (away)," Old Saxon driban, Dutch drijven, Old High German triban, German treiben, Old Norse drifa, Gothic dreiban "to drive"), perhaps from PIE root *dhreibh- "to drive, push," but it may be a Germanic isolated word.

Used in Old English of nails, ships, plows, vehicles, cattle; in Middle English of bargains. Meaning "compel or incite to action or condition of any kind" (drive mad) is by late 12c. Sense of "work with energy, labor actively" is c. 1200; that of "aim a blow" is by early 14c.. Transitive meaning "convey (someone) in a carriage," later an automobile, is from 1660s. The original sense of "pushing from behind" was altered in Modern English by application to automobiles. Related: Driving.

MILLER: "The more you drive, the less intelligent you are." ["Repo Man," 1984]
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drive (n.)

1690s, "an act of driving, the action of driving," from drive (v.). Sense of "course upon which carriages are driven" is from 1816 (hence its use in road and street names). Meaning "an excursion by vehicle" is from 1785.

Golfing sense of "forcible blow" is from 1836; in cricket from 1827, later also in baseball. Meaning "organized effort to raise money" is by 1889, American English. Sense of "dynamism" is from 1908. As a motor engine transmission lever position, by 1963. The computing sense "location capable of storing and reading a disk, etc." is by 1963.

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drive-by (adj.)

as a modifier, "done from a moving vehicle," by 1989 (originally of shootings), from the verbal phrase; see drive (v.) + by (prep.).

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drive-through (adj.)

"that may be used or experienced while driving a car," 1949 (in an advertisement for the Beer Vault Drive-Thru in Ann Arbor, Michigan), from the verbal phrase; see drive (v.) + through (adv.).

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drive-in (adj.)

in reference to of restaurants, banks, etc., built to be patronized without leaving one's car, 1929, from the verbal phrase; see drive (v.) + in (adv.). Of movie theaters by 1933 (the year the first one opened, in Camden, New Jersey).

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driven (adj.)

1570s, of snow, "carried and gathered in heaps by the wind," past-participle adjective from drive (v.). Meaning "motivated" is by 1972.

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driving-wheel (n.)

in mechanics, "main wheel that communicates motion to others," 1838, from drive (v.) + wheel (n.).

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drove (v.)

Old English draf, past tense and obsolete and dialectal past participle of drive (v.).

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drivable (adj.)

"capable of being driven" in any sense, by 1832, in early use generally of roads, from drive (v.) + -able.

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overdrive (n.)

"speed-increasing gear in an automobile," 1929, from over- + drive (n.). Earlier it was a transitive verb, "to drive too hard, work to exhaustion," Old English oferdrifan.

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