What words or phrases can work best as containing the opposite (antonyms) meaning of the word, "motivation(s)"?

I am trying to find a word that describes the "reasons that make a person not want to do something." For example, watching political TV programs motivates viewers to want to vote. The Watching TV is serving as motivation for political engagement in this sense. What would be the opposite meaning of motivation in this context? For instance, if I want to say "watching political commercials makes people not want to vote (I am making up a sentence here)." What would be the noun form for demotivation? Other words or phrases than demotivation in this context?

  • 3
    Antonyms are never that easy—they always depend on the context. That said, the most obvious one is demotivation. Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 11:52
  • Alice, Had you tried to find an answer? What did you find? Can you share your findings?
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 12:03
  • 3
    There is no such thing as "the" antonym. "The" antonym of man is woman, boy, god, robot, alien, animal, mankind, and probably a dozen others.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 12:20
  • Thank you for these answers. I am trying now to find an answer. It is quite difficult for me to find the answer to this question...
    – Alice
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 12:58
  • @Alice: I've no idea whether it's true or not, but you could say Watching party political broadcasts puts people off voting. Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


The term disincentive means

a factor, especially a financial disadvantage, that tends to discourage people from doing something: spiraling house prices are beginning to act as a disincentive to development

If you need a verb form, at least one source cites disincentivize.

  • I appreciate this answer very much.
    – Alice
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 8:35

What about the word "discouragement"?


A bit existential, but placid.

I suppose in my head, the opposite of being motivated, is being indifferent. But yeah, as previous responses state; depends mostly on context.

  • Sorry, just re-read the question and it seems you were looking for a verb. Pacify is a good alternative. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 9:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.