Drive: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
October 4, 2023

1. Drive (noun): A journey made in a vehicle, typically referring to the act of operating and controlling the vehicle.
2. Drive (noun): An innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need.
3. Drive (noun): A mechanism by which force or power is transmitted in a machine, such as the motor of a vehicle or the hard drive of a computer.
4. Drive (noun): A pathway intended for vehicles, often leading up to a house or building.
5. Drive (noun): A strong organized effort to achieve something, often involving fundraising or a campaign.
6. Drive (verb): To operate and control the direction and speed of a vehicle.
7. Drive (verb): To propel or carry along by force in a specified direction.
8. Drive (verb): To cause or urge someone to act in a particular way, especially in a determined or forceful manner.

The term "drive" encompasses a wide range of meanings, from physical actions like operating a vehicle to innate motivations and urges. Its diverse applications make it a versatile and essential term to understand in depth.

"Drive" Definition: What Does "Drive" Mean?

"Drive" is a versatile term predominantly used as both a noun and a verb. Its meanings vary depending on its application.

When used as a noun:

  1. "Drive" can refer to a journey made in a vehicle, such as going on a "drive in the countryside."
  2. It might signify an inherent urge or motivation to achieve a specific goal or fulfill a need, as in a person's "drive for success."
  3. "Drive" can also mean a mechanism that transmits force or power in a machine, like the hard "drive" of a computer.
  4. Additionally, it denotes a pathway meant for vehicles, often leading to a building, like the "drive" of a house.

When used as a verb:

  1. "Drive" indicates operating and controlling a vehicle, as in "He can drive a car."
  2. It can represent propelling or pushing something forward due to force, like "The strong wind drives the boat ashore."
  3. Moreover, it can mean pushing or urging someone to act in a particular manner, indicating determination or force, such as "Her passion drives her to excel."

Parts of Speech

The word "drive" can function as a noun and a verb. As a noun, it signifies a mechanism, pathway, or urge, among other meanings. As a verb, it depicts pushing, propelling, or controlling something.

How to Pronounce "Drive"?

"Drive" rhymes with words like "five" and "hive." The initial "dr" sounds like "druh," followed by a long "i" sound as in "sky."

Phonetic Pronunciation: draɪv

Synonyms of "Drive": Other Ways to Say "Drive"

"Drive" has a diverse set of synonyms based on its varied definitions and usages:

  • Operate (in the context of vehicles)
  • Motivation (for the urge or determination)
  • Motor (when referring to machinery)
  • Driveway (specifically for pathways)
  • Propel (as a verb for pushing or moving)

Antonyms of "Drive": Other Ways to Say "Drive"

Depending on its context, "drive" has a select set of antonyms:

  • Rest (opposite of the urge or action)
  • Retreat (opposite of moving forward)
  • Passivity (in contrast to motivation)
  • Stagnate (in opposition to a forward-moving action)

Examples of "Drive" in a Sentence

The term "drive" is widely used in various contexts. Here's a glimpse into its versatile application through different sentences:

Here are ten sentences that demonstrate its various contexts:

1. Once you drive to the checkpoint, you'll be good to go.
2. His drive to excel in sports made him practice every day.
3. The computer's drive malfunctioned, leading to data loss.
4. They bought a new house with a spacious drive leading to the garage.
5. Drive carefully, and I'll see you soon at the reunion.
6. Strong winds drove the ship off its course.
7. She was always driven by a desire to help others.
8. The charity drive managed to collect funds for the new community center.
9. You shouldn't drive if you're feeling drowsy or unwell.
10. I often drive to the countryside to enjoy the scenery whenever I'm out and about.

Frequency of Use

The word "drive" is frequently used in English due to its varied meanings and applicability. It is commonly used in everyday conversation, especially when discussing vehicles, motivation, or certain mechanical aspects. Its versatility ensures it appears in various contexts in spoken and written English. In terms of word frequency lists, "drive" often ranks within commonly used words, especially when discussing transportation or personal motivation.

Variants of "Drive"

"Drive" is primarily recognized as both a noun and verb in English. However, the verb form "to drive" can undergo various conjugations and spawn related terms.

1. Drove: Past tense of drive, indicating a completed action of driving or pushing forward.
2. Driven: Past participle form, often used to describe someone with strong motivation or purpose.
Explore our entire definitions section to learn more about words and their meanings.

Related Terms to "Drive"

Several terms are associated with "drive," each illuminating a different facet or context of its usage:

1. Motivation
2. Vehicle
3. Engine
4. Steering
5. Driveway
6. Gear
7. Propulsion
8. Force

Etymology: History and Origins of "Drive"

The term "drive" originates from Old English drīfan, which means "to force, move, or propel." Its usage has since expanded, capturing various physical and metaphorical meanings related to pushing, controlling, and motivation.

Derivatives and Compounds of "Drive"

"Drive" has fostered a multitude of derivatives and compound words, extending its utility and relevance across different spheres.

1. Driveway: A path for vehicles, usually leading to a house or garage.
2. Drive-in: A facility, such as a movie theater or restaurant, where one can stay in their vehicle.
3. Hard drive: A data storage device used in computers.
4. Overdrive: A state of heightened activity; a gear with a ratio that reduces the speed of the engine relative to the speed of the driving wheels.

Common Misspellings of "Drive"

Given its straightforward spelling, "drive" is typically spelled correctly. However, associated forms of the word can sometimes be misspelled.

Here are some potential misspellings and incorrect forms of "drive" and its derivatives:

1. Drivve
2. Druve
3. Drife

10 Idioms Similar to "Drive"

While the term "drive" itself is a part of several idioms, there are other idioms related to propelling action or motivation, capturing the essence of "drive."

1. Drive a hard bargain
2. Driven up the wall
3. Drive home a point
4. In the driver's seat
5. Drive someone round the bend
6. Take someone for a drive
7. Drive the point home
8. Drive a wedge between
9. Drive someone up the wall
10. Drive off into the sunset

10 Common Questions About "Drive"

Given the varied contexts of "drive," it naturally invites a multitude of questions. Here are some frequently asked ones to provide deeper insight into its meanings and applications:

1. What does it mean to have "drive" in a personal context?

It means having motivation, ambition, or determination to achieve something or pursue a goal.

2. How is "drive" used in a technical context?

"Drive" can refer to devices that store and read data, such as a hard drive in computers or the mechanism transmitting power in machinery.

3. Can "drive" denote a specific location?

Yes, it can refer to roads or pathways, like "Sunset Drive" or a house's driveway.

4. What does "drive a wedge between" mean?

It's an idiom that means to cause discord or separation between two parties.

5. How is "drive" different from "ride"?

"Drive" generally implies operating or controlling a vehicle, while "ride" suggests being a passenger or being carried by the vehicle.

6. What does it mean to "drive home a point"?

It means to emphasize or make a particular point very clear and understandable.

7. How do you describe someone with a lot of "drive"?

Such a person is often described as ambitious, motivated, determined, or goal-oriented.

8. Can animals have "drive"?

Yes, in a behavioral context, animals can have drives or instincts that motivate specific behaviors or actions.

9. How is "overdrive" related to "drive"?

"Overdrive" stems from "drive" and can mean a state of heightened activity or a specific gear setting in vehicles.

10. Why is "drive" associated with ambition?

The term encapsulates the idea of pushing forward, moving toward a goal, or being propelled by internal motivations, making it synonymous with ambition in many contexts.


"Drive" is a versatile term in English, denoting the action of operating a vehicle and one's motivation or ambition. Its meanings range from tangible actions to abstract concepts, making it frequently used in various contexts. Familiarity with the nuances of "drive" enhances communication, especially for language learners. By understanding "drive" and related terms, speakers can communicate more clearly and effectively. Explore our entire definitions section to learn more about words and their meanings.

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