mo·​tor | \ ˈmō-tər \

Definition of motor

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one that imparts motion specifically : prime mover
2 : any of various power units that develop energy or impart motion: such as
a : a small compact engine
b : internal combustion engine especially : a gasoline engine
c : a rotating machine that transforms electrical energy into mechanical energy
3 : motor vehicle especially : automobile



Definition of motor (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : causing or imparting motion
b : of, relating to, or being a motor neuron or a nerve containing motor neurons motor fiber
c : of, relating to, concerned with, or involving muscular movement motor areas of the brain
2a : equipped with or driven by a motor
b : of, relating to, or involving an automobile
c : designed for motor vehicles or motorists


motored; motoring; motors

Definition of motor (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to travel by automobile : drive
2 : to move or proceed at a vigorous steady pace motored down the field for a touchdown

transitive verb

: to transport by automobile

Other Words from motor


motordom \ ˈmō-​tər-​dəm \ noun
motorless \ ˈmō-​tər-​ləs \ adjective

Examples of motor in a Sentence

Noun the device was equipped with a small electrical motor to make the gears spin went shopping for a new automobile at Valley Motors Adjective motor areas of the brain Verb We spent the afternoon motoring through the countryside. The car motored slowly up the hill.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But gas for motor fuel has seen an overall increase over the past 12 months, rising by 44%. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 12 May 2022 And Alaska is considering a suspension of its motor fuel taxes through mid-2023. New York Times, 10 May 2022 Within that category, the largest jump in dollars spent was for motor fuel, which increased 36% year-over-year. Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Apr. 2022 The city pays for the resurfacing from several different revenue sources, the largest of which is state motor fuel tax money, at $3.3 million. Steve Lord,, 7 Apr. 2022 State Senate Republicans in Ohio have introduced a bill to temporarily cut the motor fuel excise tax rate for both gas and diesel to 28 cents per gallon for five years. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 29 Mar. 2022 A day after Russia invaded Ukraine, Missouri state Rep. Andrew Schwadron, a Republican, filed legislation to suspend the state's motor fuel taxes for six months, citing an emergency to protect consumers from rising prices. David A. Lieb, USA TODAY, 9 Mar. 2022 Spending on energy accounts for more than 7% of what goes into the consumer price index, and more than half is motor fuel costs. Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2022 Consumers also appeared to be encouraged by the falling, though still elevated, Covid-19 rates, and spent more on travel and leisure options such as bars, restaurants, hotels, airfare and motor fuel. NBC News, 11 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Motor symptoms can include jerking, muscle twitching, or lip-smacking; non-motor symptoms can include changes in sensation, emotions, or thinking. Patti Greco,, 9 Nov. 2021 Large battery packs, multi-motor powertrains and complex electric systems often result in a car that costs thousands more than those with traditional internal combustion powertrains. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 22 Sep. 2021 But there are non-motor symptoms that are more likely to develop later in the disease, too, and a doctor may take those into consideration when assessing someone with the disorder. Patti Greco,, 14 Sep. 2021 Given the symptoms, dementia is considered one of the most destructive non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Patti Greco,, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Then the ship would motor for several hours to the next research location, 60 nautical miles away. Joshua Partlow, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Mar. 2022 Burglaries to motor vehicles have increased 200% compared to last year, said police Chief Ana Lalley, who released February crime statistics on her Lalley in the Valley webcast. Gloria Casas,, 5 Apr. 2022 But active defense requires that the tanks be ready, on short notice, to motor out of their dugouts and mass with nearby armor for a destabilizing counterattack against the invaders. David Axe, Forbes, 7 Dec. 2021 My plan was to drive 160 miles to Key West, then motor back north to Key Largo for the night. Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2021 The first inflection point was going from horses and buggies to motor vehicles a hundred-plus years ago. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, 28 Dec. 2021 The teams will motor down the freeway to play at 7 p.m. tonight in Pechanga Arena. Union-tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Dec. 2021 After cautiously edging out of the structure, the hybrid takes a right turn and begins to motor its way down the road. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 1 Nov. 2021 Joseph Siaba, the driver, had stalled after trying to motor through rising waters. New York Times, 1 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'motor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of motor


1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1895, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for motor


Latin, from movēre to move

Learn More About motor

Time Traveler for motor

The first known use of motor was in 1586

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Dictionary Entries Near motor

moto perpetuo



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Statistics for motor

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Motor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for motor


mo·​tor | \ ˈmō-tər \

Kids Definition of motor

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a machine that produces motion or power for doing work an electric motor



Kids Definition of motor (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or designed for use in an automobile a motor trip motor oil
2 : equipped with or driven by a motor
3 : causing or controlling movement motor nerves


motored; motoring

Kids Definition of motor (Entry 3 of 3)


mo·​tor | \ ˈmōt-ər \

Medical Definition of motor

1 : causing or imparting motion
2 : of, relating to, or being a motor neuron or a nerve containing motor neurons motor fibers motor cells
3 : of, relating to, concerned with, or involving muscular movement motor areas of the brain

More from Merriam-Webster on motor

Nglish: Translation of motor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of motor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about motor


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