—n. 1. a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect: You have been the cause of much anxiety. What was the cause of the accident? 2. the reason or motive for some human action: The good news was a cause for rejoicing. 3. good or sufficient reason: to complain without cause; to be dismissed for cause. 4. Law. a. a ground of legal action; the matter over which a person goes to law.
b. a case for judicial decision.
5. any subject of discussion or debate.
6. a principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated: the Socialist cause; the human rights cause. 7. the welfare of a person or group, seen as a subject of concern: support for the cause of the American Indian. 8. Philos. a. the end or purpose for which a thing is done or produced.
b. Aristotelianism.any of the four things necessary for the movement or the coming into being of a thing, namely a material (material cause), something to act upon it (efficient cause), a form taken by the movement or development (formal cause), and a goal or purpose (final cause). 9. make common cause, to unite in a joint effort; work together for the same end: They made common cause with neighboring countries and succeeded in reducing tariffs.