Definition of drive in English:

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Pronunciation: /drīv/

verb (past drove /drōv/; past participle driven /ˈdrivən/)

1 [no object] Operate and control the direction and speed of a motor vehicle: he got into his car and drove off they drove back into town
More example sentences
  • I doubt there is a single person driving a car today who hasn't exceeded the speed limit or driven without a seatbelt at times, even though we all know we shouldn't.
  • The boys immediately raced to Ryan's car and he drove at full speed towards the hospital.
  • The occupants of the car drove off at high speed, crashing into a small bridge on the estate, before heading towards Castledermot.
operate, handle, manage;
pilot, steer
travel by car, motor
1.1(Of a motor vehicle) travel under the control of a driver: a car drives up, and a man gets out a stream of black cars drove by
More example sentences
  • Michael claims that while in Damascus he saw three separate convoys of luxury Iraqi licensed vehicles, driving under armed escort.
1.2 [with object] Own or use (a specified type of motor vehicle): Sue drives an old Chevy
More example sentences
  • Happily, this is not a problem with the estate, because salesmen don't drive estate cars.
  • Traffic chaos has frustrated drivers, both those driving private cars as well as public transportation drivers.
  • The child was in collision with a black Chrysler Voyager estate car driven by a 27-year-old Basildon woman, who was unhurt.
1.3Be licensed or competent to drive a motor vehicle: I take it you can drive?
More example sentences
  • Nakita could drive, had her license and everything, but she liked walking and it wasn't very far.
  • I cannot drive, but my daughter takes me everywhere so I have given the car to her.
  • We've never bothered with a car. I don't drive, and we can get a bus into town if we really need to.
1.4 [with object] Convey (someone) in a vehicle, especially a private car: Shelley drove him to the supermarket
More example sentences
  • The reasons why parents drive their children to school are varied.
  • But when he decided to make a brash stab at the sports-car market, economics drove him to Canada.
  • Earlier in the evening I had napped in the back seat as Odysea drove us across New York State.
chauffeur, run, give someone a lift/ride, take, ferry, transport, convey, carry
2 [with object] Propel or carry along by force in a specified direction: the wind will drive you onshore
More example sentences
  • By morning, the wind was driving icy pellets against the windows.
  • Flooding was a problem in some coastal areas where the storm's high wind drove waves onto shore and over seawalls.
  • Rain fell from overcast skies and gale force winds drove large waves on to the beaches of Normandy as dawn broke on Monday June 5, 1944.
power, propel, move, push
2.1 [no object] (Of wind, water, or snow) move or fall with great force: the snow drove against him
More example sentences
  • For two more days the winds beat against the house, and the snow and ice drove against the windows.
  • We saw her as we pulled out of our drive. She had her head down as the snow was driving in the wind.
  • Ferocious winds howled and heavy rain drove through the Jade Stadium as the Lions were humiliated - beaten in all areas.
2.2(Of a source of power) provide the energy to set and keep (an engine or piece of machinery) in motion: turbines driven by steam
More example sentences
  • All of the machinery was driven by a steam engine in the basement of the machine shop.
  • He produced a steam pressure gauge to record pressure in a cylinder and a rotary engine which could drive various forms of machinery.
  • Water power will again turn the mill wheel and drive the turbine to provide electricity to light the building.
2.3 Electronics (Of a device) power or operate (another device): the interface can be used to drive a printer
More example sentences
  • The output is regulated by a single pulse width modulating controller which drives the boost switch and buck switch simultaneously.
  • On the other hand, the new transistor simultaneously controls the electric power that drives a lamp and serves as the lamp itself.
  • The device is driven by Sony's own 123MHz ARM-compatible CPU, the Handheld Engine.
2.4Force (a stake or nail) into place by hitting or pushing it: nails are driven through the boards
More example sentences
  • They drove pegs into his land to stake out claims, and prevented him from entering his fields.
  • If you had driven a stake through Baker's heart at that moment, you couldn't have caused a greater wound.
  • What you want to do is to be able to drive stakes into the ground here.
hammer, screw, ram, sink, plunge, thrust, propel, knock
2.5Bore (a tunnel).
Example sentences
  • The focus of mining then shifted back to the upper level, and during the 1980s a tunnel was driven northward into the quarry wall.
  • A tunnel was driven into the hill to intersect the copper load which had been located and opened at the top of the hill.
  • Second, if the countermine was driven below the mine, the counterminers could spring the end of their gallery, thereby collapsing the mine above.
2.6(In ball games) hit or kick (the ball) hard with a free swing of the bat, racket, or foot.
Example sentences
  • Nick Klassen took the free kick, driving the ball into the top corner and tying the game 2-2.
  • About once a game, he drives the ball hard but right into a defender's glove.
  • My way of fighting back was to try to drive the ball as hard as I could through the pitcher's box for a base hit.
2.7 Golf Strike (a ball) from the tee, typically with a driver.
Example sentences
  • If she could learn to drive her golf ball, she could still be a great player.
  • Two down at the time, Coltart drove his ball into the rough.
  • Wie, who can drive a golf ball 300 + yards, would play from the men's tees at these events.
3 [with object] Urge or force (animals or people) to move in a specified direction: they drove a flock of sheep through the center of the city the French infantry were driven back
More example sentences
  • They'd not driven the cattle in the most likely direction, which was south, but due east, straight into the center of Double - 8 range.
  • The men that drove the cattle were a special breed.
  • In his day he guided for the Texas Rangers and drove cattle north to the railheads.
impel, urge;
herd, round up, shepherd
3.1Compel to leave: troops drove out the demonstrators he wanted to drive me away
More example sentences
  • The Byzantine coin is believed to come from the era of the bloody Battle of Benfleet, fought in 894 AD when an encampment of Danes was driven out by the troops of King Alfred the Great.
  • Six months later, U.S. troops drove Filipino militias from Manila and pursued them into the countryside.
  • The move comes as many shopkeepers in the area are complaining that traffic jams and the lack of parking spaces are driving customers away.
4 [with object] (Of a fact or feeling) compel (someone) to act in a particular way, especially one that is considered undesirable or inappropriate: he was driven by ambition [with object and infinitive]: some people are driven to murder their tormentors (as adjective driven) my husband is a driven man
More example sentences
  • The family is very strong in this country and a lot of the talented kids are driven by the fact they want to help their family to better things.
  • He was driven by feelings of resentment and hatred, and felt compelled not only to defeat his enemies, but to humiliate them.
  • However, that ambition drove him to take on challenges others avoided.
force, compel, prompt, precipitate;
oblige, coerce, pressure, goad, spur, prod
4.1Bring (someone) forcibly into a specified negative state: the thought drove him to despair [with object and complement]: my laziness drives my wife crazy
More example sentences
  • ‘My whole life, he used to put his hand on the top of my head and just hold it there, and it drove me crazy,’ she says.
  • I drove my parents crazy reciting states and their capitals.
  • Reb and I went to the Tracey Emin exhibition at the City Gallery and it drove me crazy because Emin can't spell.
4.2Force (someone) to work to an excessive extent: you’re driving yourself too hard
More example sentences
  • Malcolm Fraser as prime minister and Bob Hawke as ACTU president had a habit of driving themselves to the point of collapse.
  • After years of driving herself to do more and more, saying yes to everything and never missing an opportunity, she simply burnt out.
  • I've always believed that success lies in driving yourself hard and not letting up until you've reached a goal.
work, push, tax, exert
4.3Cause (something abstract) to happen or develop: the consumer has been driving the economy for a number of years we need to allow market forces to drive growth in the telecommunications sector


1A trip or journey in a car: they went for a drive in the country
More example sentences
  • It felt special being in this car, it would put a smile on my face every time I went for a drive.
  • As usual the kids were staying with their mum for the weekend, so yesterday I went for a drive out into the country.
  • On the way back from a business trip, the drive was long, but not too tiring.
excursion, outing, trip, jaunt, tour;
ride, run, journey
informal spin
1.1 [in names] A street or road: Hammond Drive
More example sentences
  • If, as we are led to believe, that child safety is the prime reason for the changes here in St Paul's Drive I wonder if someone could explain the absence of a safe crossing.
  • Maria, originally from Belvedere Drive, started campaigning against "excessive profiteering" when she was charged €6 for a small bottle of wine in a city bar in November 2003.
  • We spent the entire morning shopping on Rodeo Drive.
1.2 short for driveway.
Example sentences
  • The two parts of the property were divided, with separate driveways constructed to either house.
  • There is a long driveway up to the house from the avenue and there is plenty of off-street parking.
  • Two of the cars were parked off the road in driveways.
driveway, approach, access road
2 Psychology An innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need: her emotional and sexual drives
More example sentences
  • It became fashionable in the Europe of the early 20C to see humans as unwittingly acting out neurosis and subconscious drives.
  • Forbidden sexual feelings, destructive or violent impulses, bodily instincts and drives were hidden there - or repressed, as Freud called it.
  • Similarly, psychoanalysis's emphasis on unconscious drives relegated the conscious mind to relative unimportance.
urge, appetite, desire, need;
impulse, instinct
2.1The determination and ambition of a person to achieve something: her drive has sustained her through some shattering personal experiences
More example sentences
  • There is no drive, commitment or determination to do anything worthwhile on the pitch.
  • Her energy, ambition and drive see her always looking towards the horizon to see what's coming next.
  • To do this must have taken considerable drive and determination, that's all I can say!
motivation, ambition, single-mindedness, willpower, dedication, doggedness, tenacity;
enthusiasm, zeal, commitment, aggression, spirit;
energy, vigor, verve, vitality, pep
informal get-up-and-go
3An organized effort by a number of people to achieve a particular purpose, often to raise money: we’re planning a massive membership drive
More example sentences
  • The government has launched a recruitment drive to get 20,000 more nurses into the NHS by 2004.
  • It is currently in the process of renovating the plant and is conducting a membership drive to enable it to complete that renovation.
  • The controversial move is one aspect of a massive drive to get doctors to intervene with heavy drinkers before they become chronic alcoholics.
campaign, crusade, movement, effort, push, appeal
3.1 American Football A series of offensive plays that advance the ball for the purpose of a score: an 80-yard scoring drive
More example sentences
  • Griese is going to be a good quarterback, perhaps as soon as this year, but he's not ready to lead the team on last-minute, game-winning drives on the road.
  • It's no coincidence the team drove for a field goal on the opening drive for the first time this season.
  • Coach Tony Dungy doesn't like to take unnecessary chances in the red zone, so it will be imperative for Vanderjagt to finish off stalled drives with field goals.
4The transmission of power to machinery or to the wheels of a motor vehicle.
Example sentences
  • Once moving, power is balanced between front and rear, reducing drive to rear wheels when not needed, and so cutting fuel consumption.
  • The upright styling is designed to make the car look like a miniature off-roader, but it remains two wheel drive.
  • That provides drive to both wheels in all situations without completely locking up the wheels - while having the possibility to steer with good maneuverability.
4.1(In a car with automatic transmission) the position of the gear selector in which the car will move forward, changing gears automatically as required: he threw the car into drive
More example sentences
  • I moved the car into drive and moved off toward the convenience store.
  • We got in the car and he put the gears in drive, and soon we were rounding the block.
  • I backed out of the parking space before knocking the gears into drive and pulling out of the Manor.
4.2 Computing short for disk drive.
Example sentences
  • Do not leave portable media such as CDs or floppy disks in drives.
  • Much like flash memory, the drives are removable and can be easily replaced.
  • Memory drives can store much more information than a floppy disk and are also considerably faster.
5(In ball games) a forceful stroke made with a free swing of the bat, racket, or foot against the ball.
Example sentences
  • As the shadows fall across the stadium court, Nalbandian holds his nerve, a backhand drive with both feet off the ground giving him two set points.
  • The third try arrived when, after a number of drives, the ball was spun out through several pairs of hands for hooker Steve Piercy to cross.
  • Gayle, usually the flamboyant strokemaker, played a subdued innings with only rare sightings of his trademark drives and cuts.
5.1 Golf A shot from the tee.
Example sentences
  • I had just taken some lessons from my club pro, and I was hitting my drives in the fairway and the putts were dropping.
  • After hitting a great drive, he put his second shot on the front of the green while his opponent was in trouble.
  • Should you hit a bad shot on that first drive down the fairway, tee up another ball and try again.
6An act of driving a group of animals to a particular destination.
Example sentences
  • He left home in 1867 hoping to join a cattle drive going north.
  • Organized cattle drives take place at many ranches.



drive something home

see home.

what someone is driving at

The point that someone is attempting to make: I don’t understand what you’re driving at
More example sentences
  • You can see what Mahoney is driving at: that materialism is no substitute for morality.
  • Ultimately, what Crichton is driving at is a relatively simple point: that man's vision, either past or forward, is remarkably short-sighted.
  • Perhaps what Ferguson is driving at is the need to keep winning and winning.
suggest, imply, hint at, allude to, intimate, insinuate, indicate;
refer to, mean, intend
informal get at



Pronunciation: /ˌdrīvəˈbilədē/
(also driveability) noun
Example sentences
  • The extreme cold has an uncanny way of affecting the drivability and performance of a car: everything is working that much harder in minus 40 weather.
  • But the new car has a level of refinement and driveability that wasn't required in the Roadster.
  • However, there is an important principle that must be taken into account, says Mercedes, and that is that these innovative systems must not impair the drivability of the car.


Pronunciation: /ˈdrīvəb(ə)l/
(also driveable) adjective
Example sentences
  • Most of the cars on offer are drivable, but Bonhams motoring specialist Stewart Skilbeck said they present more of a challenge to drive than modern vehicles.
  • By winter they had a drivable car, and by fall, they were racing it on autocross tracks.
  • It is legally drivable in the streets and can cruise on freeways at the speed of a regular car.


Old English drīfan 'urge (a person or animal) to go forward', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch drijven and German treiben.

Words that rhyme with drive

alive, arrive, chive, Clive, connive, contrive, deprive, dive, five, gyve, hive, I've, jive, live, MI5, revive, rive, shrive, skive, strive, survive, swive, thrive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: drive

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