What does cause mean?

Definitions for cause

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word cause.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. causenoun

    events that provide the generative force that is the origin of something

    "they are trying to determine the cause of the crash"

  2. cause, reason, groundsnoun

    a justification for something existing or happening

    "he had no cause to complain"; "they had good reason to rejoice"

  3. campaign, cause, crusade, drive, movement, effortnoun

    a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end

    "he supported populist campaigns"; "they worked in the cause of world peace"; "the team was ready for a drive toward the pennant"; "the movement to end slavery"; "contributed to the war effort"

  4. causal agent, cause, causal agencynoun

    any entity that produces an effect or is responsible for events or results

  5. lawsuit, suit, case, cause, causaverb

    a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy

    "the family brought suit against the landlord"

  6. cause, do, makeverb

    give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally

    "cause a commotion"; "make a stir"; "cause an accident"

  7. induce, stimulate, cause, have, get, makeverb

    cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner

    "The ads induced me to buy a VCR"; "My children finally got me to buy a computer"; "My wife made me buy a new sofa"


  1. causenoun

    The source or reason of an event or action

  2. causenoun

    A goal, aim or principle, especially one which transcends purely selfish ends.

    He is fighting for a just cause.

  3. causeverb

    To set off an event or action.

    The lightning caused thunder.

  4. causeverb

    To actively produce as a result, by means of force or authority.

    His dogged determination caused the fundraising to be successful.

  5. causeconjunction


  6. Etymology: From cause, from cause, from causa, in also "a thing". Origin uncertain. See accuse, excuse. Displaced native sake (from sacu), andweorc (from andweorc).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CAUSEnoun

    Etymology: causa, Lat.

    The wise and learned amongst the very heathens themselves, have all acknowledged some first cause, whereupon originally the being of all things dependeth; neither have they otherwise spoken of that cause, than as an agent, which, knowing what and why it worketh, observeth, in working, a most exact order or law. Richard Hooker, b. i. § 2.

    Butterflies, and other flies, revive easily when they seem dead, being brought to the sun or fire; the cause whereof is the diffusion of the vital spirit, and the dilating of it by a little heat. Francis Bacon, Natural History, №. 697.

    Cause is a substance exerting its power into act, to make one thing begin to be. John Locke.

    The rest shall bear some other fight,
    As cause will be obey’d. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    So great, so constant, and so general a practice, must needs have not only a cause, but also a great, a constant, and a general cause, every way commensurate to such an effect. South.

    Thus, royal sir! to see you landed here,
    Was cause enough of triumph for a year. Dryden.

    Æneas wond’ring stood: then ask’d the cause,
    Which to the stream the crouding people draws. Dryden.

    Even he,
    Lamenting that there had been cause of enmity,
    Will often wish fate had ordain’d you friends. Nicholas Rowe, Ambitious Stepmother.

    O madness of discourse!
    That cause sets up with and against thyself!
    Bifold authority. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.

    Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Deut. i. 16.

    Ere to thy cause, and thee, my heart inclin’d,
    Or love to party had seduc’d my mind. Thomas Tickell.

  2. To Causeverb

    To effect as an agent; to produce.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    She weeping ask’d, in these her blooming years,
    What unforeseen misfortune caus’d her care
    To loath her life, and languish in despair. John Dryden, Fables.

    Things that move so swift, as not to affect the senses distinctly, and so cause not any train of ideas in the mind, are not perceived to move. John Locke.


  1. cause

    Causality (also referred to as causation, or cause and effect) is influence by which one event, process, state, or object (a cause) contributes to the production of another event, process, state, or object (an effect) where the cause is partly responsible for the effect, and the effect is partly dependent on the cause. In general, a process has many causes, which are also said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can in turn be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future. Some writers have held that causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space.Causality is an abstraction that indicates how the world progresses. As such a basic concept, it is more apt as an explanation of other concepts of progression than as something to be explained by others more basic. The concept is like those of agency and efficacy. For this reason, a leap of intuition may be needed to grasp it. Accordingly, causality is implicit in the logic and structure of ordinary language, as well as explicit in the language of scientific causal notation. In English studies of Aristotelian philosophy, the word "cause" is used as a specialized technical term, the translation of Aristotle's term αἰτία, by which Aristotle meant "explanation" or "answer to a 'why' question". Aristotle categorized the four types of answers as material, formal, efficient, and final "causes". In this case, the "cause" is the explanans for the explanandum, and failure to recognize that different kinds of "cause" are being considered can lead to futile debate. Of Aristotle's four explanatory modes, the one nearest to the concerns of the present article is the "efficient" one. David Hume, as part of his opposition to rationalism, argued that pure reason alone cannot prove the reality of efficient causality; instead, he appealed to custom and mental habit, observing that all human knowledge derives solely from experience. The topic of causality remains a staple in contemporary philosophy.


  1. Cause

    A cause refers to an action, event, or condition that brings about a particular outcome or result. It can be understood as the reason or motive behind something happening or an underlying factor that leads to an effect or consequence. Cause and effect are often closely linked, where the cause precedes and has a direct influence on the subsequent effect. Identifying causes is essential for understanding the relationships and mechanisms that drive various phenomena or behaviors. Causes can be both intentional or unintentional, and they can range from individual choices or actions to larger societal, environmental, or scientific factors.

  2. cause

    A cause can be defined as an action, event, or condition that brings about or leads to a certain result or consequence. It is the driving force behind a particular outcome and is responsible for initiating or influencing an effect or change in a given situation. Causes can be both tangible, such as physical factors, or intangible, such as beliefs or ideas.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Cause

    that which produces or effects a result; that from which anything proceeds, and without which it would not exist

  2. Cause

    that which is the occasion of an action or state; ground; reason; motive; as, cause for rejoicing

  3. Cause

    sake; interest; advantage

  4. Cause

    a suit or action in court; any legal process by which a party endeavors to obtain his claim, or what he regards as his right; case; ground of action

  5. Cause

    any subject of discussion or debate; matter; question; affair in general

  6. Cause

    the side of a question, which is espoused, advocated, and upheld by a person or party; a principle which is advocated; that which a person or party seeks to attain

  7. Causenoun

    to effect as an agent; to produce; to be the occasion of; to bring about; to bring into existence; to make; -- usually followed by an infinitive, sometimes by that with a finite verb

  8. Causeverb

    to assign or show cause; to give a reason; to make excuse

  9. Cause

    abbreviation of Because

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Cause

    kawz, n. that which produces an effect: that by or through which anything happens: motive: inducement: a legal action between contending parties: sake, advantage: that side of a question which is taken up by an individual or party: (Shak.) accusation: (Shak.) matter, affair in general.—v.t. to produce: to make to exist: to bring about: (Spens.) to give excuses.—conj. (dial.) because.—adj. Caus′al, relating to a cause or causes.—n. Causal′ity, the working of a cause: (phren.) the faculty of tracing effects to their causes.—adv. Caus′ally, according to the order of causes.—ns. Causā′tion, the act of causing: the bringing about of an effect; the relation of cause and effect; Causā′tionism, the theory of causation; Causā′tionist, a believer in the foregoing.—adj. Caus′ative, expressing causation.—n. a form of verb or noun expressing such.—adv. Caus′atively.—adj. Cause′less, having no cause or occasion.—adv. Cause′lessly.—ns. Cause′lessness; Caus′er, one who causes an effect to be produced.—Cause célèbre, a convenient French term for a specially interesting and important legal trial, criminal or civil.—Final cause, the end or object for which a thing is done, esp. the design of the universe; First cause, the original cause or creator of all.—Hour of cause (Scot.), hour or time of trial.—Secondary causes, such as are derived from a primary or first cause.—Have or Show cause, to have to give reasons for a certain line of action; Make common cause (with), to unite for a common object; Show cause (Eng. law), to argue against the confirmation of a provisional order or judgment.—For Occasional causes, see Occasionalism. [Fr.,—L. causa.]

Editors Contribution

  1. cause

    A logical reason.

    They knew the cause and could therefore make the necessary change to ensure optimum health.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 22, 2020  

  2. cause

    Action or intention to create.

    The cause is well known and is easily solved with the universe supporting us.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 22, 2020  

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. CAUSE

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cause is ranked #156044 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Cause surname appeared 104 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Cause.

    54.8% or 57 total occurrences were White.
    29.8% or 31 total occurrences were Black.
    7.6% or 8 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    6.7% or 7 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'cause' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1406

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'cause' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2153

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'cause' in Nouns Frequency: #456

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'cause' in Verbs Frequency: #109

How to pronounce cause?

How to say cause in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of cause in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of cause in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of cause in a Sentence

  1. Peace Pilgrim:

    We can work on inner peace and world peace at the same time. On one hand, people have found inner peace by losing themselves in a cause larger than themselves, like the cause of world peace, because finding inner peace means coming from the self-centered life into the life centered in the good of the whole. On the other hand, one of the ways of working for world peace is to work for more inner peace, because world peace will never be stable until enough of us find inner peace to stabilize it.

  2. Eric Greitens:

    This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family, millions of dollars of mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers and it's clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight. I can not allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love.

  3. Woodrow Wilson:

    I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately triumph than to triumph in a cause that will ultimately fail.

  4. Dean Gould:

    Fresno County officials all want to know a definitive cause to what started Cal Fire last year, investigators spent countless hours hiking rugged terrain to determine the cause, interviewed numerous leads, and eliminated multiple potential causes. In the end, lightning remains as the probable cause.

  5. Woodrow Wilson:

    I would rather lose in a cause that will some day win, than win in a cause that will some day lose.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for cause

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    (of a flowering plant) having two cotyledons in the seed
    • A. pecuniary
    • B. lacerate
    • C. naiant
    • D. dicotyledonous

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