Definition of cause in English:

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Pronunciation: /kɔːz/


1A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition: the cause of the accident is not clear
More example sentences
  • This way of thinking led to his distinctive ideas about the causes of natural phenomena.
  • Visiting Alice in hospital, Byrne would often ask the psychiatrists for an explanation for her condition, a root cause.
  • We must also determine the causes of this phenomenon.
mainspring, base, basis, foundation, bottom, seat;
originator, author, creator, producer, agent, prime mover, maker;
rare radix
1.1 [mass noun] Reasonable grounds for doing, thinking, or feeling something: Faye’s condition had given no cause for concern [count noun]: class size is a cause for complaint in some schools
More example sentences
  • Lopez is said to have promised not to dismiss him ‘without good cause or reason’.
  • Vandalism and criminal damage caused by airguns is an increasing problem which is giving cause for concern according to police.
  • When the horse suffered a mild fetlock injury on July 22 it was a cause for concern but no cause for panic.
reason, grounds, justification, call, need, necessity, occasion, basis, motive, motivation, inducement, excuse, pretext, purpose, stimulus, provocation
2A principle, aim, or movement to which one is committed and which one is prepared to defend or advocate: she devoted her whole adult life to the cause of deaf people I’m raising money for good causes
More example sentences
  • Kent Kaiser likewise has a long record as public advocate for conservative causes, and particularly those of the religious right.
  • However you choose to play the numbers game, these protests clearly did not represent a movement of people committed to a cause.
  • Since his retirement, Cronkite has been an outspoken advocate of liberal causes.
principle, ideal, belief (in), conviction, tenet;
object, end, aim, objective, purpose, interest;
movement, enterprise, undertaking, charity
3A matter to be resolved in a court of law: forty-five causes were entered in the list for the March session
More example sentences
  • Another possibility is to make them costs in the cause in the Supreme Court.
  • The first is the expedition of the hearing of the cause in this Court.
  • The applicant seeks an order for removal into this Court of part of a cause pending in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
3.1An individual’s case offered at law: the rule that no man should be a judge in his own cause
More example sentences
  • He always fought individual causes with the same passion that he applied to collective ones.
  • Every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard.
  • At the same time, the reluctance of some women with legitimate causes to plead a suit of force and fear at all, hints that they feared the courts might have condoned the use of coercion.
case, suit, lawsuit, action, dispute, contention, point of view


[with object]
Make (something, especially something bad) happen: this disease can cause blindness [with object and infinitive]: we have no idea what has happened to cause people to stay away [with two objects]: you could cause them problems
More example sentences
  • Miss Young said his mixed race had caused him problems and led to bullying at school.
  • The foam and plastic from the seats caused the fire to spread rapidly though the bus.
  • Swindon Council may also serve a warning notice on riders causing a noise nuisance.



cause and effect

The principle of causation: the post-Cartesian attempt to see everything as governed by simple laws of cause and effect
More example sentences
  • It is possible both to accept the basic scientific principles of cause and effect and also to believe in the holistic view of the world as a living organism.
  • But, according to Hume, the principle of cause and effect cannot be derived from experience.
  • I am a firm believer in the principle of cause and effect.
1.1The operation or relation of a cause and its effect: cause and effect play an important part in the universe
More example sentences
  • First, we could say that those events are simultaneous which necessarily stand in no relation of cause and effect to one another.
  • There is, therefore, some relation of cause and effect between the physician's presence and the patient's disease.
  • There must be some relation of cause and effect between the employment and the accident, as well as between the accident and the injury.

cause of action

Law A fact or facts that enable a person to bring an action against another: the plaintiff had a good cause of action in negligence
More example sentences
  • The plaintiffs assert causes of action including negligent design, failure to warn, misrepresentation and breach of warranty.
  • Consequently the first question is whether the claimant has a personal cause of action against the defendant.
  • The intended claimant has a good cause of action against the intended defendant in respect of each of the claims.

in the cause of

So as to support, promote, or defend something: he gave his life in the cause of freedom
More example sentences
  • This is because we must accept a compromise of some of our fundamental human rights and liberties in the cause of effectively fighting the enemy.
  • It was in the cause of liberty that writers such as Cowper and T. Day defended the Noble Savage and attacked the slave trade.
  • If only they could be put to use in the cause of peace.

make common cause

Unite in order to achieve a shared aim: nationalist movements made common cause with the reformers
More example sentences
  • Let the humanists make common cause with them to achieve freedom.
  • Today, I'd like to offer a few thoughts on what these developments have meant for your colleagues in public broadcasting, and share some ideas about how our institutions might make common cause in the future.
  • As a hunter-gatherer nation, Australia could play a further role in world affairs by making common cause without a hunter-gatherer peoples, all of whom are taking a terrible hammering.

a rebel without a cause

A person who is dissatisfied with society but does not have a specific aim to fight for: he was a rebel without a cause, a born mutineer
From the title of a US film, released in 1955
More example sentences
  • Lindner, writing when Storm Troopers were still a fresh memory, is concerned with the effects of Mass Culture on society, especially on the young, the rebels without a cause.
  • But those different just for the heck of it are rebels without a cause.
  • She, and the events of the past few days in London, put to shame the ludicrous, immature black-clothed rebels without a cause.





Pronunciation: /ˈkɔːzləs/
Example sentences
  • I am afraid that before long no one will be able to talk to me because I will burst into spontaneous, seemingly causeless laughter and that plus the sarcasm will irritate people and scare them away.
  • These last two arguments make the point that causality is necessary for the operation of morality in the world, and to introduce a causeless free will is to make the teaching of morality or its motivation by punishment or reward pointless.
  • Mr. Webster defines ‘freak’ as a sudden causeless change of mind, a whim of fancy, a vagary, a caprice.


Example sentences
  • We plan to pursue this very hard to catch the trouble causers responsible.
  • They have been completely absorbed, so they aren't wreckers and problem causers any more.
  • I would like to ascertain that it is not the claimer/victim of the accident who is putting premiums up but the causer of the accident for their stupidity or lack of attention.


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin causa (noun), causare (verb).

Words that rhyme with cause

applause, Azores, clause, Dors, drawers, gauze, hawse, indoors, Laws, outdoors, pause, plus-fours, quatorze, Santa Claus, taws, tawse, yaws, yours

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cause

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