What does motivation mean?

Definitions for motivation
ˌmoʊ təˈveɪ ʃənmo·ti·va·tion

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. motivation, motive, neednoun

    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"; "he acted with the best of motives"

  2. motivationnoun

    the condition of being motivated

    "his motivation was at a high level"

  3. motivation, motivatingnoun

    the act of motivating; providing incentive


  1. motivationnoun

    The act or process of motivating.

  2. motivationnoun

    The goal or mental image of a goal that creates a motivation; as, the image of a peaceful world is a powerful motivation for only a rare few individuals.

  3. motivationnoun

    The mental process that arouses an organism to action; as, a large part of a teacher's job is to give students the motivation to learn on their own.


  1. motivationnoun

    Willingness of action especially in behavior

  2. motivationnoun

    The action of motivating.

  3. motivationnoun

    Something which motivates.

  4. motivationnoun

    An incentive or reason for doing something.

  5. motivationnoun

    a research rating that measures how the rational and emotional elements of a commercial affect consumer intention to consider, visit, or buy something.

    The motivation scores showed that 65% of people wanted to visit our website to learn more about the offer after watching the commercial.

  6. Etymology: motive, from the verb moveo, + -ation


  1. Motivation

    Motivation is the reason for which humans and other animals initiate, continue, or terminate a behavior at a given time. Motivational states are commonly understood as forces acting within the agent that create a disposition to engage in goal-directed behavior. It is often held that different mental states compete with each other and that only the strongest state determines behavior. This means that we can be motivated to do something without actually doing it. The paradigmatic mental state providing motivation is desire. But various other states, such as beliefs about what one ought to do or intentions, may also provide motivation. Motivation is derived from the word 'motive', which denotes a person's needs, desires, wants, or urges. It is the process of motivating individuals to take action in order to achieve a goal. The psychological elements fueling people's behavior in the context of job goals might include a desire for money. Various competing theories have been proposed concerning the content of motivational states. They are known as content theories and aim to describe what goals usually or always motivate people. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the ERG theory, for example, posit that humans have certain needs, which are responsible for motivation. Some of these needs, like for food and water, are more basic than other needs, such as for respect from others. On this view, the higher needs can only provide motivation once the lower needs have been fulfilled. Behaviorist theories try to explain behavior solely in terms of the relation between the situation and external, observable behavior without explicit reference to conscious mental states. Motivation may be either intrinsic, if the activity is desired because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable, or extrinsic, if the agent's goal is an external reward distinct from the activity itself. It has been argued that intrinsic motivation has more beneficial outcomes than extrinsic motivation. Motivational states can also be categorized according to whether the agent is fully aware of why he acts the way he does or not, referred to as conscious and unconscious motivation. Motivation is closely related to practical rationality. A central idea in this field is that we should be motivated to perform an action if we believe that we should perform it. Failing to fulfill this requirement results in cases of irrationality, known as akrasia or weakness of the will, in which there is a discrepancy between our beliefs about what we should do and our actions. Research on motivation has been employed in various fields. In the field of business, a central question concerns work motivation, for example, what measures an employer can use to ensure that his employees are motivated. Motivation is also of particular interest to educational psychologists because of its crucial role in student learning. Specific interest has been given to the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in this field.


  1. motivation

    Motivation refers to the internal and external factors that stimulate desire, energy, direction and determination in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make efforts to attain a goal. It is what drives an individual to perform actions, overcome obstacles, and achieve certain goals. It can be rooted in the satisfaction of needs, the desire for personal growth, or the achievement of personal or professional objectives.


  1. Motivation

    Motivation is a psychological feature that arouses an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal-directed behaviors. It can be considered a driving force; a psychological one that compels or reinforces an action toward a desired goal. For example, hunger is a motivation that elicits a desire to eat. Motivation is the purpose or psychological cause of an action. Motivation has been shown to have roots in physiological, behavioral, cognitive, and social areas. Motivation may be rooted in a basic impulse to optimize well-being, minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure. It can also originate from specific physical needs such as eating, sleeping or resting, and sex. Motivation is an inner drive to behave or act in a certain manner. "It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day." These inner conditions such as wishes, desires, goals, activate to move in a particular direction in behavior.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Motivation

    Those factors which cause an organism to behave or act in either a goal-seeking or satisfying manner. They may be influenced by physiological drives or by external stimuli.

Editors Contribution

  1. motivation

    The reason for a specific action or purpose.

    Their motivation was simple as they were very loving, kind and caring and choose a united society and world where everyone benefits from life.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 1, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. motivation

    Song lyrics by motivation -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by motivation on the Lyrics.com website.

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British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'motivation' in Nouns Frequency: #2038

How to pronounce motivation?

How to say motivation in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of motivation in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of motivation in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of motivation in a Sentence

  1. Jeremy Ruckert:

    Anything motivates you, whether its what they say or what we say, this is the biggest stage in college football. If that doesnt motivate you, I dont know what youre doing here. We definitely heard what he was saying and used it as motivation, but the stage, the platform of the playoff and the chance to go move on, thats motivation in itself. Now we just have to keep that energy going.

  2. Dee W. Hock:

    Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience. Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all the other qualities.

  3. Noel Coward:

    Your motivation? Your motivation is your pay packet on Friday. Now get on with it.

  4. Zen diab:

    when im not workin on my body, im working on my mental. money will never be my source of motivation but my motivation will be to spend my money on my workout. dont care about sufferin its all in your head. so I just keep in mind that those who bring me down, make me stronger

  5. Bob Bowlsby:

    The motivation for expanding the playoff is not the money, the motivation for expanding the playoff is the realization that participation could be broader and access could be more readily accomplished, and more institutions could stay close to the flame.

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Translations for motivation

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"motivation." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/motivation>.

Discuss these motivation definitions with the community:

1 Comment
  • Wakil Kunda
    Wakil Kunda
    why to motivate.
    LikeReply8 years ago

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the state of being polluted
  • A. sundog
  • B. defilement
  • C. omphalos
  • D. fervidness

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