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The primary instigator, catalyst, or motivator that compels or directs something to happen. Major financial losses were the driving force behind the layoffs. For over 40 years she has been the driving force of this company, so her retirement leaves its future somewhat uncertain. He dreamed of being a driving force in his country's government someday.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
*the driving force (behind someone or something )
the person or a thing that motivates or directs someone or something. (*Typically: be ~; become ~; serve as~.) Making money is the driving force behind most businesses. Ambition is the driving force behind Tom. Love can also be the driving force.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The impetus, power, or energy behind something in motion, as in He was clearly the driving force in the new administration. This term transfers the force that sets in motion an engine or vehicle to other enterprises. Ralph Waldo Emerson was among the first to use it figuratively ( English Traits, 1856): "The ability of its journals is the driving force."
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
the driving ˈforce (behind something)the person or thing that makes something happen: She is the driving force behind this new road safety campaign.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017