mo·tive n [Anglo-French motif, from Middle French motif adjective, moving, from Medieval Latin motivus, from Latin motus, past participle of movēre to move]: something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act
◇ In criminal law, motive is distinguished from intent or mens rea. Although motive is not an element of a crime, evidence regarding motives can be introduced to help establish intent. In contract law, motive is usu. distinguished from cause or consideration.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun aim, causa, causation, compulsion, consideration, design, determination, driving force, encouragement, end, goal, impelling power, impulse, incentive, inducement, influence, inner drive, inspiration, moving cause, moving power, moving spirit, object, objective, personal reasons, persuasion, plan, point, proposal, prospect, provocation, purpose, ratio, rationale, reason, reason for action, stimulant, stimulation, stimulus associated concepts: corrupt motive, intent II index animus, basis, cause (reason), design (intent), desire, determinant, end (intent), ground, impetus, impulse, incentive, intent, moving (in motion), origination, point (purpose), provocation, purpose, rationale, reason (basis), source, stimulus, target

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

The reason for doing some act; the idea or circumstances that cause someone to do something.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

the moving cause or desire that induces action. A person's motive may answer the question: Why did he do it? It may coincide with intention but may differ. The general approach of the law is to ignore motive, however helpful it may be to those who investigate crime. See aemulationem vicini, economic torts.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

The probable reason a person committed a crime, as when one acts out of jealousy, greed, or revenge. While evidence of a motive may be admissible at trial, proof of motive is not necessary to prove a crime.
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

An idea, belief, or emotion that impels a person to act in accordance with that state of mind.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

An idea, belief, or emotion that impels a person to act in accordance with that state of mind.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   in criminal investigation the probable reason a person committed a crime, such as jealousy, greed, revenge or part of a theft. While evidence of a motive may be admissible at trial, proof of motive is not necessary to prove a crime.

Law dictionary. . 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • motivé — motivé, ée adj. Soutenu, stimulé par une motivation. ⇒MOTIVÉ, ÉE, part. passé et adj. I. Part. passé de motiver (v. ce mot I B). Suscité. Il y a bien des actes, de vilains actes motivés par de l argent (GONCOURT, Journal, 1895, p.740). II.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • motive# — motive n 1 Motive, spring, impulse, incentive, inducement, spur, goad all denote a stimulus inciting or prompting a person to act or behave in a definite way. Motive applies chiefly to such an emotion as fear, anger, hatred, or love or to a… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Motive — may refer to: Contents 1 Criminal law 2 Creative or artistic work 3 Computing …   Wikipedia

  • Motive — Mo tive, n. [F. motif, LL. motivum, from motivus moving, fr. L. movere, motum, to move. See {Move}.] 1. That which moves; a mover. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choise, or moving… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Motive — Mo tive, a. Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move; as, a motive argument; motive power. Motive faculty. Bp. Wilkins. [1913 Webster] {Motive power} (Mach.), a natural agent, as water, steam, wind, electricity, etc., used to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • motive — [mōt′iv] n. [ME motif < OFr motif (adj.) < ML motivus, moving < L motus, pp. of movere, to MOVE] 1. some inner drive, impulse, intention, etc. that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way; incentive; goal 2. MOTIF (sense… …   English World dictionary

  • Motive — Mo tive, v. t. To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • motive — motive, motivation See interpretation ; psychoanalysis ; sanction, social sanction ; vocabularies of motive …   Dictionary of sociology

  • -motive — [mōt′iv] [< MOTIVE (adj. )] combining form forming adjectives moving, of motion [automotive] …   English World dictionary

  • motivé — motivé, ée (mo ti vé, vée) part. passé de motiver. •   La France est le seul pays où les arrêts ne soient pas motivés, comme c est aussi le seul où l on achète le droit de juger les hommes, VOLT. Lett. Damilaville, 13 juin 1766.    Terme de… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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