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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.


  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: kôz, IPA(key)/kɔːz/[kʰoːz̥]
  • (General American) IPA(key)/kɔz/[kʰɒːz̥]


cause (countable and uncountableplural causes)

  1. (countable, often with of, typically of adverse results) The source of, or reason for, an event or action; that which produces or effects a result.
    They identified a burst pipe as the cause of the flooding.
  2. (uncountable, especially with for and a bare noun) Sufficient reason for a state, as of emotion.
    There is no cause for alarm.
    The end of the war was a cause for celebration.
    Synonyms: groundsjustification
  3. (countable) A goal, aim or principle, especially one which transcends purely selfish ends.
  4. (obsolete) Sake; interest; advantage.
  5. (countable, obsolete) Any subject of discussion or debate; a matter; an affair.
  6. (countable, law) 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.


cause (third-person singular simple present causespresent participle causingsimple past and past participle caused)

  1. (transitive) To set off an event or action.
    The lightning caused thunder.
  2. (ditransitive) To actively produce as a result, by means of force or authority.
    His dogged determination caused the fundraising to be successful.
  3. To assign or show cause; to give a reason; to make excuse.
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