—motiveless, adj. —motivelessly, adv. —motivelessness, n./moh"tiv/, n., adj., v., motived, motiving.n.1. something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc.; incentive.2. the goal or object of a person's actions: Her motive was revenge.adj.4. causing, or tending to cause, motion.5. pertaining to motion.6. prompting to action.7. constituting a motive or motives.v.t.8. to motivate.[1325-75; (adj.) ME ( < MF motif) < ML motivus serving to move, equiv. to L mot(us) (ptp. of movere to MOVE) + -ivus -IVE; (n.) ME ( < MF motif) < ML motivum, n. use of neut. of motivus]Syn. 1. motivation, incitement, stimulus, spur; influence, occasion, ground, cause. MOTIVE, INCENTIVE, INDUCEMENT apply to whatever moves one to action. MOTIVE is, literally, something that moves a person; an INDUCEMENT, something that leads a person on; an INCENTIVE, something that inspires a person. MOTIVE is applied mainly to an inner urge that moves or prompts a person to action, though it may also apply to a contemplated result, the desire for which moves the person: His motive was a wish to be helpful.INDUCEMENT is never applied to an inner urge, and seldom to a goal: The pleasure of wielding authority may be an inducement to get ahead. It is used mainly of opportunities offered by the acceptance of certain conditions, whether these are offered by a second person or by the factors of the situation: The salary offered me was a great inducement. INCENTIVE was once used of anything inspiring or stimulating the emotions or imagination: incentives to piety; it has retained of this its emotional connotations, but (rather like INDUCEMENT) is today applied only to something offered as a reward, and offered particularly to stimulate competitive activity: to create incentives for higher achievement. 2. See reason.
* * *in music, a leading phrase or figure that is reproduced and varied through the course of a composition or movement. See melody.
* * *