cause


cause
cause n 1 Cause, determinant, antecedent, reason, occasion are comparable when denoting what in whole or in part produces an effect or result.
Cause is applicable to an agent (as a circumstance, condition, event, or force) that contributes to the production of an effect or to any combination (as of circumstances, conditions, or events) that inevitably or necessarily brings about a result
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one of the causes of the French Revolution was the bankruptcy of the government

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every effect must have an adequate cause

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what was the cause of this outbreak?

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water and soil pollution are the root causes of mortality in the tropics— Heisery

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Cause is sometimes used of a personal agent whose activities are instrumental in bearing consequences
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he is the cause of all our troubles

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or of the motive which prompts one to action
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he claimed to have just cause for his attack

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A determinant is a circumstance, factor, element, quality, or motive that by itself or in combination with other factors conditions or fixes the nature of a result and especially of a product or outcome
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Environment is an important determinant of character

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the ideals and the character of citizens are the final determinants of their form of government

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"imponderables," which in philosophy as in politics are the most important factors of experience and determinants of action— Inge

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strength of organization, shelter from foreign or other distant competition, command of markets in key industries —these ... are the main direct determinants of wage rates— Hobson

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Antecedent is applicable to a person or thing (as an object or a circumstance, condition, or event) that is responsible, usually in part, for a later existing person or thing, most often as a progenitor, precursor, or predeter- minant
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it is certainly true that these twelfth-century windows . . . had no antecedent, and no fit succession— Henry Adams

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the antecedents of emperor-worship lay far back in history— Buchan

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phenomena like these have other social, cultural, or superorganic phenomena as their immediate causes or antecedentsKroeber

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Reason is interchangeable with cause when it means specifically a traceable or explainable cause; it always implies, therefore, that the effect is known or has actually been brought about
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there was a reason for Mark Twain's pessimism, a reason for that chagrin .... That bitterness of his was the effect of a certain miscarriage in his creative life, a balked personality, an arrested development— Brooks

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Occasion applies to a situation or to a person, place, or event which provides such a situation that serves to set in motion causes already existing or to translate them into acts; thus, the cause of a war may be a deep-rooted enmity between two peoples, the occasion of it such a relatively unimportant incident as the murder of a citizen of one country within the confines of the other; an occasion of sin may be a visit to a place (as a saloon) where the real cause, a propensity to drink, is not resisted
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a formula that has been the occasion for a considerable amount of misunderstanding— Richards

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Analogous words: *motive, spring, incentive, inducement, spur, goad, impulse: motivation, activation, actuation (see corresponding verbs at ACTIVATE): agent, agency (see MEAN): *origin, root, source, prime mover
Contrasted words: *effect, result, consequence, outcome, issue
2 *suit, lawsuit, action, cause, case

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cause — 1 n 1: something that brings about an effect or result the negligent act which was the cause of the plaintiff s injury ◇ The cause of an injury must be proven in both tort and criminal cases. actual cause: cause in fact in this entry but–for… …   Law dictionary

  • cause — [ koz ] n. f. • XIIe; lat. causa « cause » et « procès » → chose I ♦ Ce qui produit un effet (considéré par rapport à cet effet). 1 ♦ (1170) Ce par quoi un événement, une action humaine arrive, se fait. ⇒ origine; motif, objet, raison, 3. sujet.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Cause — • Cause, as the correlative of effect, is understood as being that which in any way gives existence to, or contributes towards the existence of, any thing; which produces a result; to which the origin of any thing is to be ascribed Catholic… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • cause — CAUSE. s. f. Principe, ce qui fait qu une chose est. Dieu est la première de toutes les causes, la cause des causes, la souveraine cause, la cause universelle. On appelle Dieu, absolument et par excellence, Cause première, comme on appelle les… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • cause — Cause, qui fait faire quelque chose, Causa. La meilleure cause et la pire, Superior causa et inferior. B. ex Cicerone. Les causes durent tousjours et perseverent, Manent causae. Tu as ouy les causes de mon conseil, Audisti consilij mei motus. Par …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • cause — CAUSE. s. f. Principe, ce qui fait qu une chose est. Dieu est la premiere de toutes les causes, la cause des causes, la souveraine cause. On appelle Dieu absolument & par excellence, Cause premiere; comme on appelle les creatures Causes secondes …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Cause — (k[add]z), n. [F. cause, fr. L. causa. Cf. {Cause}, v., {Kickshaw}.] 1. That which produces or effects a result; that from which anything proceeds, and without which it would not exist. [1913 Webster] Cause is substance exerting its power into… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cause — cause, causal explanation In non specialist contexts, to ask for the cause of some particular happening is to ask what made it happen, or brought it about. To give a causal explanation is to answer such questions, usually by specifying some prior …   Dictionary of sociology

  • cause — [kôz] n. [ME < OFr < L causa, a cause, reason, judicial process, lawsuit: infl. (in CAUSE senses 4 & 5) by CASE1] 1. anything producing an effect or result 2. a person or thing acting voluntarily or involuntarily as the agent that brings… …   English World dictionary

  • causé — causé, ée (kô zé, zée) part. passé. 1°   Produit par une cause. •   Toutes choses étant causées ou causantes, PASC. dans COUSIN. 2°   Occasionné. Un incendie causé par un accident. 3°   Motivé. •   M. de Bouillon voulait une absence, et une… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré


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