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motive (n.)

ate l14c., "something brought forward, a proposition, assertion, or argument" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French motif "will, drive, motivation," noun use of adjective, literally "moving," from Medieval Latin motivus "moving, impelling," from Latin motus "a moving, motion," past participle of movere "to move" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away").

Meaning "that which inwardly moves a person to behave a certain way, mental state or force which induces an action of volition" is from early 15c. Hence "design or object one has in any action."

motive (adj.)

late 14c., "having control of motion, causing motion, having power to move someone or something," from Old French motif "moving" or directly from Medieval Latin motivus "moving, impelling," from past-participle stem of movere "to move" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away").

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Definitions of motive from WordNet
1
motive (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;
he acted with the best of motives
Synonyms: motivation / need
motive (n.)
a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music;
Synonyms: motif
motive (n.)
a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration;
Synonyms: motif
2
motive (adj.)
causing or able to cause motion;
a motive force
motive power
Synonyms: motor
motive (adj.)
impelling to action; "it may well be that ethical language has primarily a motivative function"- Arthur Pap;
motive pleas
Synonyms: motivative / motivating
From wordnet.princeton.edu