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motivation (n.)

1873, "act or process of furnishing with an incentive or inducement to action;" see motivate + -ion. Perhaps borrowed from German, where motivation is attested by 1854. Psychological use, "inner or social stimulus for an action," is from 1904.

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Definitions of motivation from WordNet

motivation (n.)
the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior;
we did not understand his motivation
Synonyms: motive / need
motivation (n.)
the condition of being motivated;
his motivation was at a high level
motivation (n.)
the act of motivating; providing incentive;
Synonyms: motivating
From wordnet.princeton.edu