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In engineering, a prime mover is a component of an power-generating device that receives kinetic force externally. It normally consists of a series of fins designed to capture currents of motion energy, attached to a long shaft. Waterwheels, windmills and turbines are examples of prime movers. In devices that generate electricity, the prime mover has magnets on its shaft which, surrounded by a generator's electric coil, induces an electric current when spun.

In biology, a prime mover is a muscle that contracts against the resistance of another muscle, causing a particular body part to move.

In astronomy, a prime mover is the force that moves the stars, as proposed by Ptolemy.

In theology, a prime mover is a supreme being as defined by Aristotle's cosmological arguments in his tracts Physics. Everything in the world was caused by something. That something in turn was caused by something else. The Prime Mover was the existential force that started the whole chain of events. Hence God exists.

In management, a prime mover is a person or small group of people who introduce ground-breaking reforms to an organisation that dramatically shifts its strategic outlook or direction.

In the car park just down the road, a prime mover is a large, noisy, powerful vehicle designed to haul trailers and accomodate sleeping truckies when they are not on amphetamines.

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