• The source of, or reason for, an event or action; that which produces or effects a result.
  • Sufficient reason for a state, as of emotion.
  • A goal, aim or principle, especially one which transcends purely selfish ends.
  • Sake; interest; advantage.
  • Any subject of discussion or debate; a matter; an affair.
  • A suit or action in court; any legal process by which a party endeavors to obtain his claim, or what he regards as his right; case; ground of action.


  • To set off an event or action.
  • To actively produce as a result, by means of force or authority.
  • To assign or show cause; to give a reason; to make excuse.


  • From Middle English cause (also with the sense of “a thing”), borrowed from Old French cause ("a cause, a thing"), from Latin causa ("reason, sake, cause"), from Proto-Italic *kaussā, which is of unknown origin. See accuse, excuse, recuse, ruse. Partially displaced native Middle English sake ("cause, reason") (from Old English sacu ("cause")) (see sake), Displaced native Middle English andweorc ("matter, cause") (from Old English andweorc ("matter, thing, cause")).

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