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Move vs Actuate vs Drive vs Impel

Moveactuatedriveimpel are comparable when they mean to set or keep going or in motion.

Move is so general that the direction or nature of the motion can be gathered only from the context; it may imply an agent or an agency as the mover.

Actuate is more restricted in its reference than move, being used chiefly in connection with machinery and mechanisms; it stresses the communication of power to work or to set in action.

Drive implies forward and, usually, continuous rather than recurrent motion; it often emphasizes the effect produced, as of speed, violence, or show of power, rather more than the impetus given.

Impel, when used of physical motion, adds to drive the implication of great force in the impetus. These words also are synonymous when they mean to excite or provoke a person to a given act or action or to given conduct or behavior.

Move may imply an agent, an external influence, or an inner spring or motive as the mover.

Actuate presupposes such an inner stimulus as a desire, a feeling, or a motive.

Drive presupposes a compelling force, sometimes outer, sometimes inner, which affects the freedom of the will.

Impel, like actuate, implies an inner prompting, but it suggests greater urgency in the desire or motive and more headlong action.