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make, create, produce: cause a riot; bring about; a principle or movement to which one is dedicated: a worthy cause
Not to be confused with:
caws – the harsh, grating cries of certain birds, such as crows
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


a. The producer of an effect, result, or consequence.
b. The one, such as a person, event, or condition, that is responsible for an action or result.
2. A basis for an action or response; a reason: The doctor's report gave no cause for alarm.
3. A goal or principle served with dedication and zeal: "the cause of freedom versus tyranny" (Hannah Arendt).
4. The interests of a person or group engaged in a struggle: "The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind" (Thomas Paine).
5. Law
a. A lawsuit or criminal prosecution.
b. The ground or basis for a lawsuit.
6. A subject under debate or discussion.
tr.v. caused, caus·ing, caus·es
1. To be the cause of or reason for; result in.
2. To bring about or compel by authority or force: The moderator invoked a rule causing the debate to be ended.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin causa, reason, cause, grounds for a lawsuit, lawsuit, of unknown origin.]

caus′a·ble adj.
cause′less adj.
caus′er n.
Synonyms: cause, reason, occasion, antecedent
These nouns denote what brings about or is associated with an effect or result. A cause is an agent or condition that permits the occurrence of an effect or leads to a result: "He is not only dull in himself, but the cause of dullness in others" (Samuel Foote).
Reason refers to what explains the occurrence or nature of an effect: There was no obvious reason for the accident.
Occasion is something that brings on or precipitates an action, condition, or event: "Injustice provides the occasion for change" (Alan Dershowitz).
Antecedent refers to what has gone before and implies a relationship—but not necessarily a causal one—with what ensues: Some of the antecedents of World War II lie in economic conditions in Europe following World War I.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. a person, thing, event, state, or action that produces an effect
2. grounds for action; motive; justification: she had good cause to shout like that.
3. the ideals, etc, of a group or movement: the Communist cause.
4. the welfare or interests of a person or group in a dispute: they fought for the miners' cause.
5. a matter of widespread concern or importance: the cause of public health.
6. (Law)
a. a ground for legal action; matter giving rise to a lawsuit
b. the lawsuit itself
7. (Philosophy) (in the philosophy of Aristotle) any of four requirements for a thing's coming to be, namely material (material cause), its nature (formal cause), an agent (efficient cause), and a purpose (final cause)
8. make common cause with to join with (a person, group, etc) for a common objective
(tr) to be the cause of; bring about; precipitate; be the reason for
[C13: from Latin causa cause, reason, motive]
ˈcausable adj
ˌcausaˈbility n
ˈcauseless adj
ˈcauser n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



n., v. caused, caus•ing. n.
1. a person that acts or a thing that occurs so as to produce a specific result: the cause of the accident.
2. the reason or motive for some action: a cause for rejoicing.
3. good or sufficient reason: to complain without cause.
a. a ground of legal action.
b. a case for judicial decision.
5. a principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated: the Socialist cause; the human rights cause.
6. to be the cause of; bring about.
make common cause, to unite in a joint effort.
[1175–1225; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin causa reason, sake]
caus′a•ble, adj.
caus`a•bil′i•ty, n.


(kɔz, kʌz, unstressed kəz)

conj. Informal.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


  1. Affect me [with revulsion] like the smell of a cheap cigar left smoldering in an ashtray —Jonathan Valin

    In Valin’s novel, Final Notice, the descriptive frame of reference for the simile is a tattoo.

  2. The certainty [of his desire] landed in the bottom of my stomach like a flatiron —Mary Gordon
  3. The change [in living accommodations] would be like going from Purgatory to Paradise —Louisa May Alcott
  4. The conviction that I am loved and loving affects me like a military bracing —John Cheever
  5. The effort made him choke like a tiger at a bone —Robert Frost
  6. Every gesture … aroused a beat chant like the beat of the heart of the desert —Anaĩs Nin
  7. (This city) exacerbates loneliness in me the same way that water makes Alka-Seltzer fizz —Pat Conroy
  8. The general effect was exactly like a microscopic view of a small detachment of black beetles in search of a dead rat —John Ruskin
  9. Has a disruptive effect … like a torpedo coming down Main Street —Anon politician on Gramm-Rudman Law, February, 1986
  10. Has as little effect on me as water on a duck’s back —American colloquialism, attributed to South

    A variation: “As water rolling off a duck’s back.”

  11. Her absence felt like a presence, an electrical charge of silence in the house —John Updike
  12. His death served to remind me, like a custard pie in the face, that life is sometimes like one big savage joke —Sue Grafton
  13. (A blast of Prince [music] … ) hit me like a feather boa with a length of lead pipe in it —Jonathan Valin
  14. Its [melancholy] effect upon you is somewhat similar to what would probably be produced by a combined attack of toothache, indigestion and a cold in the head —Jerome K. Jerome
  15. It [forcing an old priest into retirement] was just like ripping an old tree out of the ground —W. P. Kinsella
  16. The kind whisper went to my heart like a dagger —Charlotte Brontë
  17. Offering a flight attendant a $20 bill for a $2 drink is like spitting on an Alabama state trooper —Louis D. Wilson, Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1986
  18. Pain and poverty and thwarted ambition … can break the virtues like brittle bones —George Garrett
  19. Seeing her again … was like rediscovering a half-forgotten landmark —Ann Petry
  20. [When a tired-looking woman smiles] some of the years of hard living fell away like happy tears —James Crumley
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used as a noun

The cause of an event is the thing that makes it happen.

Nobody knew the cause of the explosion.
He thought he had discovered the cause of her sadness.

You always use of, not 'for', after cause.

Don't use 'because of' or 'due to' with cause. Don't say, for example, 'The cause of the fire was probably due to a dropped cigarette'. You say 'The cause of the fire was probably a dropped cigarette'.

The report said the main cause of the disaster was the failure to secure doors properly.
The cause of the symptoms appears to be inability to digest gluten.
2. used as a verb

To cause something means to make it happen.

We are trying to find out what causes an earthquake.
Any acute infection can cause headaches.

You can say that something causes someone to do something.

A blow to the head had caused him to lose consciousness.
The experience had caused her to be distrustful of people.

Don't say that something 'causes that someone does' something.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


Past participle: caused
Gerund: causing

I cause
you cause
he/she/it causes
we cause
you cause
they cause
I caused
you caused
he/she/it caused
we caused
you caused
they caused
Present Continuous
I am causing
you are causing
he/she/it is causing
we are causing
you are causing
they are causing
Present Perfect
I have caused
you have caused
he/she/it has caused
we have caused
you have caused
they have caused
Past Continuous
I was causing
you were causing
he/she/it was causing
we were causing
you were causing
they were causing
Past Perfect
I had caused
you had caused
he/she/it had caused
we had caused
you had caused
they had caused
I will cause
you will cause
he/she/it will cause
we will cause
you will cause
they will cause
Future Perfect
I will have caused
you will have caused
he/she/it will have caused
we will have caused
you will have caused
they will have caused
Future Continuous
I will be causing
you will be causing
he/she/it will be causing
we will be causing
you will be causing
they will be causing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been causing
you have been causing
he/she/it has been causing
we have been causing
you have been causing
they have been causing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been causing
you will have been causing
he/she/it will have been causing
we will have been causing
you will have been causing
they will have been causing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been causing
you had been causing
he/she/it had been causing
we had been causing
you had been causing
they had been causing
I would cause
you would cause
he/she/it would cause
we would cause
you would cause
they would cause
Past Conditional
I would have caused
you would have caused
he/she/it would have caused
we would have caused
you would have caused
they would have caused
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cause - events that provide the generative force that is the origin of something; "they are trying to determine the cause of the crash"
inception, origination, origin - an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events
antecedent - a preceding occurrence or cause or event
aetiology, etiology - the cause of a disease
factor - anything that contributes causally to a result; "a number of factors determined the outcome"
producer - something that produces; "Maine is a leading producer of potatoes"; "this microorganism is a producer of disease"
mutagenesis - an event capable of causing a mutation
2.cause - a justification for something existing or happening; "he had no cause to complain"; "they had good reason to rejoice"
justification - a statement in explanation of some action or belief
3.cause - a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular endcause - a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end; "he supported populist campaigns"; "they worked in the cause of world peace"; "the team was ready for a drive toward the pennant"; "the movement to end slavery"; "contributed to the war effort"
venture - any venturesome undertaking especially one with an uncertain outcome
ad blitz, ad campaign, advertising campaign - an organized program of advertisements
anti-war movement - a campaign against entering or continuing a war
charm campaign - a campaign of flattery and friendliness (by a company, politician, etc.) to become more popular and gain support
consumerism - a movement advocating greater protection of the interests of consumers
campaigning, candidacy, candidature, electioneering, political campaign - the campaign of a candidate to be elected
fund-raising campaign, fund-raising drive, fund-raising effort - a campaign to raise money for some cause
feminist movement, women's lib, women's liberation movement, feminism - the movement aimed at equal rights for women
gay lib, gay liberation movement - the movement aimed at liberating homosexuals from legal or social or economic oppression
lost cause - a defeated cause or a cause for which defeat is inevitable
reform - a campaign aimed to correct abuses or malpractices; "the reforms he proposed were too radical for the politicians"
war - a concerted campaign to end something that is injurious; "the war on poverty"; "the war against crime"
youth crusade, youth movement - political or religious or social reform movement or agitation consisting chiefly of young people
4.cause - any entity that produces an effect or is responsible for events or results
physical entity - an entity that has physical existence
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul - a human being; "there was too much for one person to do"
agent - an active and efficient cause; capable of producing a certain effect; "their research uncovered new disease agents"
nature - a causal agent creating and controlling things in the universe; "the laws of nature"; "nature has seen to it that men are stronger than women"
occult, supernatural - supernatural forces and events and beings collectively; "She doesn't believe in the supernatural"
theurgy - the effect of supernatural or divine intervention in human affairs
first cause, prime mover, primum mobile - an agent that is the cause of all things but does not itself have a cause; "God is the first cause"
destiny, fate - the ultimate agency regarded as predetermining the course of events (often personified as a woman); "we are helpless in the face of destiny"
catalyst - something that causes an important event to happen; "the invasion acted as a catalyst to unite the country"
deus ex machina - any active agent who appears unexpectedly to solve an insoluble difficulty
manipulator, operator - an agent that operates some apparatus or machine; "the operator of the switchboard"
power, force - one possessing or exercising power or influence or authority; "the mysterious presence of an evil power"; "may the force be with you"; "the forces of evil"
life principle, vital principle - a hypothetical force to which the functions and qualities peculiar to living things are sometimes ascribed
engine - something used to achieve a purpose; "an engine of change"
cause of death, killer - the causal agent resulting in death; "heart disease is the biggest killer in the United States"
danger - a cause of pain or injury or loss; "he feared the dangers of traveling by air"
agent - a substance that exerts some force or effect
5.cause - a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedycause - a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy; "the family brought suit against the landlord"
civil suit - a lawsuit alleging violations of civil law by the defendant
class action, class-action suit - a lawsuit brought by a representative member of a large group of people on behalf of all members of the group
countersuit - a suit brought against someone who has sued you
criminal suit - a lawsuit alleging violations of criminal law by the defendant
moot - a hypothetical case that law students argue as an exercise; "he organized the weekly moot"
paternity suit - a lawsuit filed to determine the father of a child born out of wedlock (and to provide for the support of the child once paternity is determined)
legal proceeding, proceeding, proceedings - (law) the institution of a sequence of steps by which legal judgments are invoked
law, jurisprudence - the collection of rules imposed by authority; "civilization presupposes respect for the law"; "the great problem for jurisprudence to allow freedom while enforcing order"
Verb1.cause - give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally; "cause a commotion"; "make a stir"; "cause an accident"
shape, determine, influence, regulate, mold - shape or influence; give direction to; "experience often determines ability"; "mold public opinion"
create, make - make or cause to be or to become; "make a mess in one's office"; "create a furor"
initiate, pioneer - take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of; "This South African surgeon pioneered heart transplants"
effect, effectuate, set up - produce; "The scientists set up a shock wave"
make - compel or make somebody or something to act in a certain way; "People cannot be made to integrate just by passing a law!"; "Heat makes you sweat"
occasion - give occasion to
call forth, evoke, kick up, provoke - evoke or provoke to appear or occur; "Her behavior provoked a quarrel between the couple"
breed, engender, spawn - call forth
incite, motivate, prompt, propel, actuate, move - give an incentive for action; "This moved me to sacrifice my career"
impel, force - urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate
facilitate - increase the likelihood of (a response); "The stimulus facilitates a delayed impulse"
2.cause - cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner; "The ads induced me to buy a VCR"; "My children finally got me to buy a computer"; "My wife made me buy a new sofa"
decide - cause to decide; "This new development finally decided me!"
persuade - cause somebody to adopt a certain position, belief, or course of action; twist somebody's arm; "You can't persuade me to buy this ugly vase!"
bring - induce or persuade; "The confession of one of the accused brought the others to admit to the crime as well"
solicit - incite, move, or persuade to some act of lawlessness or insubordination; "He was accused of soliciting his colleagues to destroy the documents"
encourage - spur on; "His financial success encouraged him to look for a wife"
let - actively cause something to happen; "I let it be known that I was not interested"
lead - cause to undertake a certain action; "Her greed led her to forge the checks"
instigate, prompt, inspire - serve as the inciting cause of; "She prompted me to call my relatives"
suborn - induce to commit perjury or give false testimony; "The President tried to suborn false witnesses"
compel, obligate, oblige - force somebody to do something; "We compel all students to fill out this form"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. origin, source, agency, spring, agent, maker, producer, root, beginning, creator, genesis, originator, prime mover, mainspring Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death and disease.
origin end, result, effect, consequence, outcome
2. reason, call, need, grounds, basis, incentive, motive, motivation, justification, inducement There is obvious cause for concern.
3. aim, movement, purpose, principle, object, ideal, enterprise, end His comments have done nothing to help the cause of peace.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. That which produces an effect:
2. A basis for an action or a decision:
ground (often used in plural), motivation, motive, reason, spring.
3. That which provides a reason or justification:
Idiom: why and wherefore.
4. A goal or set of interests served with dedication:
5. A legal proceeding to demand justice or enforce a right:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ástæîakoma tilmálstaîurorsökvalda
원인원인이 되다이상
būt par iemeslucēlonisidejaiemeslsizraisīt
gây ranguyên dosự nghiệp


A. N
1. (= origin) → causa f; (= reason) → motivo m, razón f
cause and effect(relación de) causa y efecto
with good causecon razón
to be the cause ofser causa de
there's no cause for alarmno hay por qué inquietarse
to give cause for complaintdar motivo de queja
you have cause to be worriedusted tiene motivo para estar preocupado
to show cause (frm) → aducir argumentos convincentes
2. (= purpose) → causa f
in the cause of justicepor la justicia
to make common cause withhacer causa común con
it's all in a good causese está haciendo por una buena causa
to die in a good causemorir por una causa noble
to take up sb's causeapoyar la campaña de algn
see also lost C
3. (Jur) → causa f, pleito m
B. VTcausar, provocar; [+ accident, trouble] → causar
I don't want to cause you any inconvenienceno quisiera causarle ninguna molestia
to cause sb to do sthhacer que algn haga algo
C. CPD cause célèbre [ˌkɔːzseɪˈlebr] Npleito m or caso m célebre
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[accident, cancer] → cause f
cause and effect → la cause et l'effet
(= reason) → raison f
to have no cause to do sth → ne pas avoir de raison de faire qch
cause for concern
There is no cause for concern → Il n'y a pas lieu de s'inquiéter.
(= aims) → cause f
to make common cause with sb → faire cause commune avec qn
to be in a good cause, to be for a good cause → être pour la bonne cause
[+ disease] → causer
[+ accident] to cause an accident → provoquer un accident
(= make) to cause sth to be done → faire faire qch
to cause sb to do sth → faire faire qch à qn
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Ursache f(of für); cause and effectUrsache und Wirkung; what was the cause of the fire?wodurch ist das Feuer entstanden?
(= reason)Grund m, → Anlass m; she has no cause to be angrysie hat keinen Grund, sich zu ärgern; the cause of his failureder Grund für sein Versagen; with/without (good) causemit (triftigem)/ohne (triftigen) Grund; not without causenicht ohne Grund; there’s no cause for alarmes besteht kein Grund or Anlass zur Aufregung; you have every cause to be worrieddu hast allen Anlass zur Sorge; you have good cause for complaintSie haben allen Grund zur Klage, Sie beklagen sich zu Recht
(= purpose, ideal)Sache f; to make common cause with somebodymit jdm gemeinsame Sache machen; to work for or in a good causesich für eine gute Sache einsetzen; he died for the cause of peaceer starb für den Frieden or für die Sache des Friedens; in the cause of justicefür die (Sache der) Gerechtigkeit, im Namen der Gerechtigkeit; it’s all in a good causees ist für eine gute Sache
(Jur: = action) → Fall m, → Sache f
vtverursachen; to cause somebody griefjdm Kummer machen; to cause somebody to do something (form)jdn veranlassen, etw zu tun (form)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. n
a.causa; (reason) → motivo, ragione f
cause and effect → causa ed effetto
with good cause → a ragione
to be the cause of → essere (la) causa di
there's no cause for alarm → non c'è motivo di allarme
there is no cause for concern → non c'è ragione di preoccuparsi
b. (purpose) → causa
in the cause of justice → per la (causa della) giustizia
to make common cause with → far causa comune con
it's all in a good cause (fam) → è tutto a fin di bene
2. vtcausare
to cause sth to be done → far fare qc
to cause sb to do sth → far fare qc a qn
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(koːz) noun
1. something or someone that produces an effect or result. Having no money is the cause of all my misery.
2. a reason for an action; a motive. You had no cause to treat your wife so badly.
3. an aim or concern for which an individual or group works. cancer research and other deserving causes; in the cause of peace.
to make (something) happen; to bring about; to be the means of. What caused the accident?; He caused me to drop my suitcase.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


سَبَب, قَضِيَّة, يُسَبِّبُ příčina, věc, způsobit årsag, forårsage, sag Sache, Ursache, verursachen αιτία, προκαλώ, σκοπός causa, causar aiheuttaa, asia, syy cause, causer cilj, prouzročiti, uzrok causa, provocare 大義, 引き起こす, 理由 원인, 원인이 되다, 이상 doel, reden, veroorzaken forårsake, grunn, sak motyw, powód, spowodować causa, causar послужить причиной, причина, цель orsak, orsaka, sak เป้าหมาย, ทำให้เกิด, สาเหตุ amaç, neden, yol açmak gây ra, nguyên do, sự nghiệp 事业, 原因, 引起
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. causa, lo que produce un efecto o condición, un cambio mórbido o enfermedad;
constitutional ______ constitucional;
existing ______ actual, presente;
necessary ______ necesaria;
precipitating ___factor desencadenante;
predisposing ___factor predisponente;
proximate ______ inmediata;
specific ______ específica;
without ___sin ___;
vt. causar, ocasionar.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n causa; vt causar
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.